Judge OKs Guantánamo detention of Algerian

 

crosenberg@MiamiHerald.com

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- A federal judge has upheld as lawful the indefinite detention of an Algerian accused of being an al Qaeda bomb maker, raising the tally of U.S. government victories in Guantánamo habeas corpus lawsuits to eight.

In contrast, 30 detainees here have won their challenges since the U.S. Supreme Court established the right of Guantánamo captives to sue for their freedom in June 2008.

In the latest case made public, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled for the detention of Sufiyan Barhoumi, 36, in a two-page decision dated Sept. 3. Her full ruling was still classified Friday.

The military says Barhoumi was captured among a multinational band of al Qaeda loyalists in a Pakistani raid on a terrorist safe house in Faisalabad in March 2002.

The key capture of that raid was the alleged arch-terrorist known as Abu Zubaydah, Zayn Abdeen al Husseini, who was spirited off to custody at a secret site and CIA interrogation that, according to leaked accounts, systematically humiliated him to break his will -- for example, by confining him to a dog kennel.

Barhoumi and several others were sent to Guantánamo and charged with war crimes for allegedly training with al Qaeda, setting up a bomb-making shop and going on a $1,000 shopping mission in Faisalabad to buy materiel for roadside bombs to resist the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Barhoumi had appeared at an earlier effort to stage military commissions with part of his hand blown off from a training exercise years before his capture.

The Barhoumi ruling was the first by Collyer in the 200 or so Guantánamo cases at various stages in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Six other judges ruled in the previous 37 decisions.

It was also a significant development in the now stalled effort to restart the war court here even as President Barack Obama has pledged to close the prison camps by mid-January.

Among the 30 detainees whom federal judges have ordered released were two long-held captives that Pentagon prosecutors had sought to put before a military tribunal war crimes:

A young Afghan, Mohammed Jawad, who was sent home by order of U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle after she declared the proposed Pentagon prosecution a ``shambles.''

Kuwaiti Fouad al Rabia, 50, who was ordered released by Judge Colleen Kollar Kotelly after his lawyers argued he was not Osama bin Laden's logistics and supply chief at the 2001 battle of Tora Bora. Rabia is still in the prison camps while government lawyers consider whether to appeal his release order.

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