court rules inmate's detention 'unlawful'
By MEE staff
2021 -- "Information
US federal court has ruled that a detainee at
Guantanamo Bay detention centre has been
unlawfully kept there, several days after he was
cleared to be transferred out of the military
The US court granted the petition for a writ of
habeas corpus for Asadullah Haroon Gul, who has been
detained without charge by the US since 2007. The
decision marks the first time in a decade a
Guantanamo detainee's imprisonment has been ruled
"We are thrilled for Asad. A federal court has
finally affirmed what Asad has known for so long: he
should be home with his family, and his detention is
unlawful," Mark Maher, Gul's lawyer at Reprieve US,
said in a
"This is a landmark ruling. For 20 years,
successive US administrations have asserted their
right to imprison people indefinitely, without
charge or trial. Guantanamo was built on the
shakiest of legal foundations, and that has never
been more clear than it is today."
Earlier this year, US government lawyers
had argued that Washington could continue to
detain the Afghan citizen even as the country was
pulling out of Afghanistan, asserting that he had a
past affiliation with members of al-Qaeda.
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He was accused of being a member of Hezb-e-Islami
(HIA), a militia that fought against the allied
invasion of Afghanistan. HIA entered into a peace
agreement with the then-US backed Afghan government
five years ago.
Wednesday's court decision comes a week after
Guantanamo's Periodic Review Board
cleared Gul for release, although he remains at
the prison and the US has not provided a country to
which he could be released.
Gul's brother, Roman Khan, said the court's
ruling was "sweet news" for the family.
"The family has eyes only to see him again. We
are all waiting for him," Khan said in a statement
"He has spent more than 14 years of his life in
this dangerous and terrible prison without charge.
We are thankful to the judges and to everyone who
continue to press for his freedom."
Still, despite his detention having no legal
basis and him being cleared for release, it could
take some time before Gul leaves the prison. More
than a decade ago, 17 Uyghur men were
ordered free, however, they remained at
Guantanamo for several years while the US government
worked to find countries in which to resettle them.
Of the 39 men currently
detained at the prison, 12 have been approved for
transfer. So far under the Biden administration,
only one detainee has been released - Moroccan
Abdul Latif Nasser.
According to the
New York Times, another lawyer for Gul, Eric
Lewis, urged the State Department to appoint a
special envoy to coordinate the transfers of
detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
Any men cleared for transfer should be sent "home
or to countries that are willing to assist", he said
in a statement.
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