Court: no jurisdiction in ex-Gitmo detainee suit

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled (PDF) Oct. 7 that the Detainee Treatment Act prevents the court from having jurisdiction over a former Guantánamo Bay detainee's lawsuit for damages. Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese national, was captured in 2002 and transferred to Guantánamo prior to an agreement an agreement to transfer him to Sudan in 2007. Hamad states that that he was wrongfully detained and subjected to torture while held and filed the lawsuit to seek damages stemming from his detention. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's orders and directed the district court to render a judgment dismissing the lawsuit. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2001 ruled that Hamad could not continue to litigate a habeas corpus petition and refused to order the government to rescind their designations as "enemy combatants."

US court upholds conviction of ex-Gitmo detainee

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Oct. 24 upheld the conviction (PDF) of ex-Guantánamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa. Ghailani had appealed his conviction on the premise that his constitutional rights to a speedy trial had been violated by his lengthy detainment and interrogation by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Although the interrogation techniques that were used remain classified, the CIA has justified this practice as an effort to gain "critical, real-time intelligence about terrorist networks and plots." This appeal provided the court an opportunity to consider, and ultimately provide support for, the legal implications of US efforts to gain intelligence from terrorism suspects before prosecuting them. Ghailani's lawyer has said that he will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Gitmo judge allows 9-11 hearings to continue

A military judge on Oct. 2 refused to suspend the pretrial hearings in a case against five Guantánamo Bay prisoners related to the 9-11 terrorist attack. Army Col. James Pohl reasoned that the measures taken to respond to the defendants' concerns were adequate to continue the hearings. The defense team claimed that the government's computer network was not secure. The lawyers alleged that confidential data, e-mails and private research went missing or were erroneously sent to the prosecution. The US Department of Defense stated that it will address the concerns. The next pretrial hearing is set for October 22 while no trial date is set.

Gitmo authorities end daily hunger strike updates

The Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay said Sept. 23 that they would no longer issue daily updates on detainee hunger strikes. This announcement sought to effectively declared the end of the unprecedentedly broad, six-month long, prisoner protest. There are now 164 prisoners in Guantanamo, and as many as 106 were on strike at the peak of the protest in July. Only 19 detainees are still classified as on hunger strike. For those 19 prisoners, force-feeding continues. The hunger strike has brought attention to the prison, and caused US President Barack Obama to renew his pledge to close the facility.

Judge: US does not have to release Gitmo videos

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled (PDF) Sept. 13 that the US government does not have to release photographs and videotapes taken during the investigation of Mohammed al-Qahtani's connection to the September 11 attacks. Al-Qahtani was held in Guantánamo Bay until his charges were eventually dropped. The videotapes depict al-Qahtani's interrogations, something the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) claims should be public record. However, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald stated:

Bagram: US still holding detainees without charge

The nonprofit human rights law firm Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) released a report  on Sept. 5 detailing the conditions at Bagram Prison in Afghanistan, a facility that continues to detain non-Afghan prisoners of the US despite not being under US control since March. According to the JPP, many of these detainees are being held indefinitely without charges, trial or access to a lawyer. Many prisoners have testified to being captured and held in the prison without ever being told about the basis for their detainment.

Wanted by Italy, ex-CIA agent is released to US

After being detained for a day or two by Panamanian authorities on a request from Interpol, retired US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief Robert Seldon Lady was released on July 19 and placed on a plane bound for the US. In 2009 an Italian court sentenced Lady in absentia to nine years in prison for the Feb. 17, 2003 kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian-born Muslim cleric and suspected terrorist also known as Abu Omar, on a street in Milan. Although 22 other US citizens were convicted in the kidnapping case, Italy has only been seeking Lady, who headed the CIA's Milan station; the others received lighter sentences that don't warrant extradition requests under Italian law.

Judge denies petition to end Gitmo force-feeding

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on July 16 denied (PDF) a motion by Guantánamo Bay detainees to end forced feeding of hunger-striking prisoners. The petitioners maintained that the practice was cruel and that it would interfere with their religious practices during the month of Ramadan, which began on July 8 and requires fasting during daylight hours. In her opinion, Judge Rosemary Collyer found that the court does not have jurisdiction to decide the case. She also noted that even if the court had jurisdiction, she would not have granted the order, saying: "there is nothing so shocking or inhumane in the treatment of Petitioners—which they can avoid at will—to raise a constitutional concern that might otherwise necessitate review." Collyer also pointed out that the Guantanamo staff had plans to accommodate the petitioners' religious needs during Ramadan.

Syndicate content