Judge says US held Afghan man unlawfully at Guantanamo Bay

Asadullah Haroon Gul was denied entry to a lawyer, held for 14 years at Guantanamo with out cost; now ordered freed.

A United States choose has dominated the United States has no authorized foundation for holding an Afghan man on the infamous US jail camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, setting the stage for his potential launch, his lawyer informed Al Jazeera.

Asadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan nationwide, has been held at Guantanamo since June 2007 after he was captured within the japanese metropolis of Jalalabad by Afghan forces and turned over to the US army.

US District Court Judge Amit Mehta, ruling on a petition of habeas corpus, has rejected the US authorities’s arguments for persevering with to carry Gul in detention at Guantanamo.

“The outcome of the petition was that it was granted,” stated Tara Plochocki, Gul’s lawyer who stated she was “delighted” by the choose’s ruling.

Gul was held for 14 years at Guantanamo with out cost and denied entry to a lawyer for the primary 9 years of his detention, in keeping with Reprieve, a US authorized advocacy group. In 2016, his attorneys filed a petition in federal court docket in Washington, DC, arguing his detention was illegal.

Details of the choose’s ruling are categorized as secret in the meanwhile however Gul’s lawyer stated the result’s clear.

“The judge has ruled that his detention is illegal. And as with any other court order against the US government, there is a constitutional obligation to give affect to that order. And so, it should mean that he is immediately released,” Plochocki informed Al Jazeera.

Sehar Bibi holds {a photograph} of son Asadullah, in Shamshatu refugee camp near Pakistan’s northwestern metropolis of Peshawar [Abdul Majeed/AFP]

Habeas corpus is a centuries-old precept of British and US frequent regulation that enables individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned to problem the premise of their persevering with detention.

While the US Supreme Court dominated in 2008 that Guantanamo detainees have a proper to petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Judge Mehta’s ruling is the primary time in 10 years a detainee has received a habeas corpus declare, Plochoki stated.

Gul had been member of a gaggle known as Hezb-e-Islami, or the Islamic Party of Afghanistan, which reached a peace settlement with the Western-backed Afghan authorities in Kabul in 2016.

His attorneys had argued that as a result of US hostilities in Afghanistan had ceased, he ought to be launched however the choose rejected these arguments.

Gul was by no means a part of the Taliban, or al-Qaeda or any al-Qaeda bothered group and didn’t struggle in opposition to the US. He asserted in court docket paperwork that he had been on a enterprise journey to Afghanistan from the refugee camp in Pakistan, the place he was living along with his household, when he was captured.

The choose’s ruling signifies authorities attorneys did not make a case that Gul might proceed to be detained due to any connection to al-Qaeda.

“We were the first case to take a run at what the statute actually means and how the government’s construing it” and whether or not the US was “prolonging their detention authority by any means necessary”, Plochocki stated.

Importantly, previous to the choose’s ruling, a US army evaluate board dominated on October 7 that it was protected to launch Gul and his detention no was longer mandatory, citing a “lack of leadership in extremist organizations” and “lack of clear ideological basis for his prior conduct”.

“The board’s recommendation is welcome, but we should remember Asadullah has spent more than 14 years of his life in prison without charge or trial,” Reprieve US lawyer Mark Maher stated in a press release.

“Asadullah missed his daughter’s entire childhood. He should be reunited with his family as soon as possible, but there is no way to restore what has been taken from them.”

Any effort by Justice Department attorneys — who had been defending the federal government’s authority to detain Gul — to enchantment the district choose’s ruling can be undercut by the evaluate board resolution that he ought to be launched.

Haroon Gul is one in all 39 males nonetheless being held at Guantanamo and now one in all 13 who’ve been cleared by the army evaluate board for launch. Some males have had clearances for years and nonetheless languish within the jail.

President Joe Biden has promised to shut Guantanamo, the place greater than 740 males had been detained between 2002 and 2017 — typically with none formal expenses, and in some circumstances, subjected to torture.