Monday, June 23, 2008

D.C. Court of Appeals Invalidates "Enemy Combatant" Designation of Gitmo detainee

In an (as of yet unpublished due to confidential information) order, the D.C. Circuit invalidated the decision of a Combatant Status Review Tribunal finding that a detainee, one Huzaifa Parhat , is an "enemy combatant," and "directed the government to release or to transfer Parhat, or to expeditiously hold a new Tribunal consistent with the court's opinion."

Now, this is not a direct result of the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene. Rather, this was a result of the very limited review of CSRT final judgments that was already in the Military Commissions Act. The order does specifically mention Boumediene though and states that the Friday's order does nothing to prevent Parhat from filing a petition for habeas corpus.

Interestingly, Parhat is a Muslim Uighur from Xinjiang in far western China; a group who seeks greater autonomy from China. If it was hard to trace any link between September 11 and Iraq, I don't expect to find one here. Doesn't sound like the court was very convinced either.

Before you get too excited, the same Court also denied another detainee's challenge of a procedural decision due to lack of jurisdiction under the Military Commissions Act.
You might remember this guy, Omar Khadr, because of an earlier military commission decision dismissing the charges against him because he was found to be an "enemy combatant," and not an "unlawful enemy combatant." A decision that has since been reversed. There are also some other ongoing challenges because Khadr was 15 when the alleged crimes were committed. It has become a very very complex case.

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