Salih v. Obama; Hatim v. Obama

1. Salih v. Obama (D.D.C. Dec. 30, 2009) (dismissing habeas petition)

Just before the new year, Judge Urbina issued an order dismissing (without prejudice) a GTMO habeas petition filed in the name of Abdul Salih, apparently on the ground that Salih has refused to authorize the attorneys involved to pursue such relief.  This is one of an increasing number of GTMO habeas cases that have quietly gone away because the detainee is unwilling, for whatever reason, to pursue it.  The brief order is posted here:

https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2008cv1234-33

2. Hatim v. Obama (D.D.C. Dec. 16, 2009) (granting habeas petition)

Back on December 16th, I noted that Judge Urbina had placed a notice on the docket memorializing the grant of a habeas petition on behalf of Saeed Hatim, and promised to follow up with the redacted opinion whenever it became available.  It is now available here:

https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2005cv1429-337

In brief, Judge Urbina holds that (i) the government’s substantive detention authority extends to those who are part of AQ, the Taliban, or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, but not also to persons who merely provide material or direct support without being part of the group (yes, this appears to conflict with today’s Circuit ruling in Al Bihany), and (ii) the government evidence was not sufficiently credible to support the allegations meant to establish such membership (in large part because of lingering taint from prior abusive interrogations of the detainee).  Note that the latter part of the ruling would require dismissal even if Judge Urbina had adopted the broader, Al Bihany standard for substantive scope of detention power.

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