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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Federal judge dismisses Afghan Bagram detainee habeas petition
Andrew Morgan at 1:10 PM ET

[JURIST] A federal judge on Monday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a habeas corpus challenge brought by Afghan national Haji Wazir detained at Bagram Air Base [JURIST news archive] without charges since 2002. Judge John Bates of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] dismissed Wazir's petition, finding that Section 7 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF], outlining habeas corpus matters, did not violate the separation of powers principle laid out by the US Supreme Court [official website] in United States v. Klein [opinion]. Bates had ordered rehearing on the Klein question in April, after granting habeas petitions [JURIST report] filed by three non-Afghan detainees held at Bagram. Bates said Wazir's case required different consideration under Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], since his release was likely to cause "friction with the host country." Bates said he would not consider altering his April judgment in light of new evidence presented by Wazir without a motion for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or 60(b) [text].

Earlier this month, Bates certified and suspended [JURIST report] his April order, allowing an interlocutory appeal on whether the detainees may invoke the Constitution's Suspension Clause [text]. The DC District Court has been the venue for many habeas challenges, especially for Guantanamo detainees suspected of involvement with terrorism. In April, DC Circuit Judge Ellen Huvelle ordered [text, PDF] that Afghan Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammed Jawad [ACLU materials; JURIST news archive], detained since he was a teenager, be allowed to challenge his detention in federal courts without delay. Last month, Jawad's military lawyers petitioned [JURIST report] the Supreme Court of Afghanistan [official website] to demand his release from the facility. Also last month, former Guantanamo detainee Lakhdar Boumediene [BBC profile], whose Supreme Court challenge secured detainees' ability to challenge their detention in federal court, was released and sent to France [DOJ press release; JURIST report].






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