United States v. Abdah (D.D.C.) (Granting habeas relief to a gtmo detainee)

June 11, 2010

Judge Kennedy has released an unclassfied version of an opinion granting habeas relief to a gtmo detainee from Yemen who was among a group of men seized by pakistani authorities in 2002. The opinion finds that the government’s evidence against Odaini consists primarily of the circumstance of his presence at the guesthouse where the arrest occurred (on the theory that the guesthouse was solely for use by Abu Zubaydah’s al Qaede-affiliated network), along with his involvement in a religious prosetelyzation organization alleged to have been used by Qaeda, at time, as cover. The court was decidedly unconvinced, however, that Odaini was anything more than the student he claimed to be.

Note that the opinion indicates that the GTMO review task force already had recommended his release, but that prospects for release were then disrupted by the decision to suspend all releases to Yemen that followed the surge in public concern about Yemen in the aftermath of the “underwear” bomb incident. It seems that there had been a stay of habeas proceedings before that decision, but the court lifted the stay afterward. The government tried to make the case for detention at that point rather than concede the writ.