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D.C. Circuit Rules for Guantanamo Detainee in Partly Secret Decision

Posted Jun 23, 2008 10:12 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court has ruled a Guantanamo detainee was improperly classified as an enemy combatant in the first civilian court decision giving a detainee a chance to win release, SCOTUSblog reports.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was not released because it contains classified material, the blog says. The court issued a one-page notice of its decision (PDF posted by SCOTUSblog) and promised to issue a redacted version of the ruling.

The court ruled on behalf of detainee Huzaifa Parhat pursuant to procedures under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. The court ordered the government to release Parhat or to hold a new tribunal hearing consistent with its opinion.

The court also said Parhat may file a habeas petition in the federal district court under the Supreme Court's recent decision in Boumediene v. Bush. SCOTUSblog says “there is little doubt” that Parhat’s lawyers will pursue the habeas option.

Parhat, a member of a persecuted Chinese minority, was captured in Afghanistan by bounty hunters and turned over to the U.S. military. It’s unclear if the appeals court decision was based on the evidence in Parhat’s case or a broader examination of the government’s detention power, the blog says.

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