Monday, June 30, 2008

D.C. Circuit: "Bare Assertions" Not Enough to Hold Detainees

In an unsurprising but important decision, the D.C. Circuit has rejected government arguments that factual statements by government officials, presented without any evidence about the source or reliability of the information in those statements, are sufficient to justify holding a Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant.  The U.S. has held Huzaifa Parhat as an enemy combatant since December 2001, although (to quote an AP story)  "[t]he Justice Department concedes that Parhat never fought against the U.S. and says it has no evidence he was planning to do so."  A copy of the D.C. Circuit's opinion, with classified portions redacted, is here.  The Court ordered that Parhat is entitled to either a new Combatant Status Review Tribunal or outright release.  The Court was reviewing the case under the narrow appellate procedure allowed by the Detainee Treatment Act, rather than in response to a post-Boumediene habeas petition.

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