Judge rules Afghan’s detention at Guantánamo Bay unlawful
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday sided with a Guantánamo Bay detainee, determining that his detention in U.S. custody illegal, in the first such ruling in a decade, according to his lawyer.
Detainee Asadullah Haroon Gul’s petition for habeas corpus, which calls for a court ruling over the validity of one’s detention, was granted by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, according to a Justice Department official who described the outcome of the classified proceedings.
“This is a historic victory for the rule of law and a much-needed reminder to the U.S. government that there are limits on what it may do in the name of national security,” said Tara Plochocki, an attorney for Gul. “I’m hopeful that Asadullah will soon be reunited with his family.”
It was not immediately clear when Gul, an Afghan national, would be released from Guantánamo Bay, where he has been held since 2007. Although the judge agreed that Gul’s detention lacked a legal basis, he denied the request for immediate release based on the end of U.S. hostilities in Afghanistan.
The judge’s ruling found that Gul, who was captured in Afghanistan amid his participation in an Islamic militia, had no link to al Qaeda, according to a description of the ruling by the New York Times.
The Justice Department said it was reviewing Mehta’s ruling.
The ruling came a week after the Periodic Review Board, a panel established by former President Obama to review the status of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, cleared Gul for transfer from the U.S. facility.
Gul’s legal defense is supported the London-based non-government organization Reprieve, which said their client “has suffered severe physical and psychological torture during his 14 year detention without charge or trial, including being beaten, hung by his wrists, deprived of food and water, and prevented from praying.”
Of the 39 detainees being held at the U.S. facility at Guantánamo Bay, 12 have been cleared for release by the review board.
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