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Obama Administration Appeals Judge’s Order to Relase Gitmo Detainee

Last month, a federal court judge ordered the Defense Department to release a 47-year-old father of two with a heart condition who the court ruled had been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for the past seven years without justification.

On Monday, the Obama administration said it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Back in August, I noted that because Mohammed al-Adahi is from Yemen, whose government the Obama administration doesn’t trust to control terrorists, it would be reluctant to send him home. And because the United States refuses to accept any prisoners here and other countries are reluctant to take them, al-Adahi could end up stuck at Gitmo for months more.

But the government’s filing today suggests that the Pentagon believes al-Adahi does not deserve to be released — or at least that it can’t come up with a politically palatable place to send him.

Al-Adahi, as I explained when he won the order of release, was captured by Pakistani troops while fleeing Afghanistan on a bus that also carried wounded Taliban soldiers. In addition, he had spent a week at an Islamic training camp, from which he was expelled, and had once met Osama bin Laden at a wedding celebration for al-Adahi’s sister in Kandahar. To the Defense Department, this was sufficient grounds to hold al-Adahi as a Taliban fighter and send him to Guantanamo.

In the declassified version of her opinion granting his petition for habeas corpus, D.C. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler wrote: “Unable to prove the more serious allegation of actual participation in combat, the Government cannot rely solely on what is only associational evidence about Al-Adahi’s stay and arrest in the company of individuals rumored to be part of the Taliban. Such evidence is not sufficient to carry the Government’s burden.”

The government apparently disagrees, and indicated in a new court filing today that it will appeal that decision.

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