Judge says US detained Afghan ‘illegally’ at Guantanamo Bay, paving way for his release – ThePrint

Archival photo of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba | Wikimedia Commons

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New Delhi: In a landmark judgment, a US federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the detention of an Afghan in the infamous US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was “illegal”.

Reportedly, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, ruling on habeas corpus petition, rejected U.S. government’s arguments to continue detaining detainee, Asadullah Haroon Gul, in Guantanamo, paving the way for his potential release .

Although the decision has not yet been made public, Gul’s lawyer Recount CNN that he won the case but could not provide further details, stating that the information is classified.

“The result of the request was that it was granted,” lawyer Tara Plochocki said, confirmed To Al Jazeera also, adding that she was “delighted” with the judgment.

Gul is the first Guantánamo Bay inmate in 10 years to win a habeas corpus case. He has been detained since June 2007. In 2010, the habeas corpus request of detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi was granted by an American court, which resulted in a feature film on his fight entitled “The Mauritanian” which was released this year. .

Habeas corpus is a legal remedy by which an individual can challenge unlawful detention or imprisonment, and successful challenges can lead to the release of an inmate.

After September 11, under the US government under George Bush, a military prison was built at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He was chosen because he was under the full control of the US military but outside the US and therefore beyond the reach of US courts. The idea was that if the detainees were not on American soil, they would have no legal right to seek a habeas corpus order, however, in 2004 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners of Guantanamo had, in fact, habeas rights.

As a result, many American lawyers volunteered to represent the Guantanamo detainees.

NGOs like those based in the United States Human Rights Watch (HRW) and UK based Stay welcomed Judge Mehta’s decision.

Who is Asadullah Haroon Gul?

Gul is an Afghan who grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan. He was accused of being a member of an extremist group called Hezb-e-Islami / Gulbuddin (HIG), later known as Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA). HIA has been identified as an “associated force” of Al Qaeda by the US government.

According to a CNN report, Gul admitted he was a member of HIG, but his lawyers argued that the group made a peace treaty with the Afghan government in 2016.

Gul’s brother, Roman Khan, was cited by the NGO Reprieve for responding to the recent judgment by stating: “This is such happy and sweet news for our family. We now pray that Asadullah will be sent home quickly to where he belongs. The family only has eyes to see him again. We are all waiting for it. His wife, his young daughter Maryam, his parents, me, his nieces and nephews. He spent over 14 years of his life in this dangerous and terrible prison without charge. We are grateful to the judges and to all who continue to press for his freedom. “

India-born Judge Mehta, who has ruled in the case, has presided over a few high-profile cases in the past, including the crucial US Department of Justice lawsuit against internet search giant Google in late 2020.

Read also : How the United States’ war on terror became a war in the courts – my 13 trips to Guantanamo Bay

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