Rather than free him, however, the Obama Justice Department appealed the decision and won a ruling that his habeas corpus petition be heard again. His lawyer seethes at the notion that a man described in his secret file as a "compliant captive" has spent a decade in detention.
"The judge found that there was not even a preponderance of evidence," Nancy Hollander said. "He should be released. We should have a justice system that works."
Forty-seven of the current Guantánamo detainees should be held indefinitely without trial, the Obama administration has determined. The only name that's known publicly, however, is Mohammed Kamin, a 30-something Afghan whose photo is a black smear.
The secret 2005 intelligence report about him describes him as a high-risk but passive prisoner who was captured two years earlier at a checkpoint near Khost, Afghanistan, carrying a satellite telephone. He once was charged before a military commission for allegedly training with al Qaida, spying on U.S. troops and firing missiles at coalition forces in Afghanistan.
His Pentagon lawyer, Army Capt. Clay West, argues that he should be sent home, where his father and "village elder" have "pledged to monitor him and guide him towards peaceful endeavors."
Some 50 of the 172 captives' files contained information from a prolific prison camp informant, Mohammed Basardah, a Yemeni who was at Tora Bora but whose information has been dismissed as unreliable by two federal judges. Basardah has since been released from Guantánamo and resettled in Europe.
The files indicate that U.S. forces captured only 22 of the men who are held at the prison today.
They include the detention center's oldest detainee, Pakistani Saifulla Paracha, 63, who was lured from Karachi to Bangkok in July 2003 in an FBI-orchestrated bogus business meeting at a time when his son Uzair was in FBI custody in New York.
The 2008 summary calls Saifulla Paracha a one-time bin Laden business associate who helped al Qaida "plan to procure chemicals and biological agents." He's never been charged with a crime, and his lawyers are gathering evidence for his unlawful-detention petition.
Eighteen captives at Guantánamo today are the remnants of the group that U.S. military intelligence once called the "The Dirty Thirty": 30 young men, most from Yemen, who were thought to be bin Laden bodyguards.
At least 10 men spent time in the United States. Among them is Majid Khan, who grew up in suburban Baltimore and was arrested in his native Pakistan in 2003. In his photo, he sports a burly beard, and he's described as an al Qaida operative in the service of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He's never been charged with a crime.