Government Won’t Appeal Gitmo Detainee’s Habeas Case — but Military Commission Charges Still Pending « The Washington Independent
Fouad al Rabiah, a Kuwaiti Airways engineer accused of being an aide to Osama bin Laden who recently won his habeas corpus case in federal court, is a step closer to going home. McClatchy newspapers reports that the 50-year-old father of four was moved to the part of the Guantanamo detention center reserved for detainees cleared for release.
The Justice Department has said it will not appeal the Sept. 17 order of Judge Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who granted Al Rabiah’s petition for release in a scathing ruling that criticized the U.S. government and described how interrogators used coercion and abuse to extract false confessions from him. Al Rabiah’s lawyer, David Cynamon, has demanded an investigation from the Senate Armed Services Committee and the inspectors general of the Defense and Justice departments, as well as from Attorney General Eric Holder. He has not received a response.
The situation sounds reminiscent of the case of Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan teenager who a military commission judge had similarly ruled was “tortured” and coerced into confessing to throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers. The bulk of his case was based on his coerced statements, and was eventually thrown out by the military commissions and dropped by the Justice Department.
Jawad’s military lawyer, David Frakt, complained repeatedly to senior Defense Department officials that he believed U.S. military personnel had committed war crimes in connection with his client. As TWI documented in September, Frakt never received a response, and the matter appears never to have been investigated.
Jawad is now back in Afghanistan. Al Rabiah’s future, however, remains in doubt. Although the Justice Department has said it won’t appeal his order of release, a military commission case is still pending against him.