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Gitmo Detainee Is Returned to Kuwait

The United States today released Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah to his native Kuwait after holding him for nearly eight years at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the Department of Justice, Al Rabiah had been cleared for transfer by the government’s Guantanamo Review Task Force. On Sept. 17, a federal court also ruled he can no longer be legally detained, and ordered the government to release him.

When the government still did not release him, Al Rabiah’s lawyers asked the judge to hold U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Rear Admiral Tom Copeman in contempt for failing to comply with the court order.

In her order granting Al Rabiah’s petition for habeas corpus, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly called the government’s evidence against Al Rabiah “surprisingly bare.”

“Far from providing the Court with credible and reliable evidence as the basis for Al Rabiah’s continued detention, the Government asks the Court to simply accept the same confessions that the Government’s own interrogators did not credit,” the judge wrote.

The U.S. government had claimed that Al Rabiah provided “material support” to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and met several times with Osama bin Laden. Al Rabiah denied this, but apparently “confessed” under abusive interrogations to having run a supply depot for al-Qaeda fighters. Al Rabiah’s lawyers argued that the confessions were all coerced, and that it was a case of mistaken identity: the government had confused Al Rabiah with another man with the same nickname. That man was killed by American air strikes.

The government did not appeal the judge’s decision.

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