WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has forcefully put Yemeni citizen Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini on the path to freedom after eight years of incarceration at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
In a 36-page opinion formally released Thursday, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. called Odaini's continued detention unlawful'' and said he would emphatically'' grant Odaini's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
The ruling issued secretly last month but published Thursday sets the 26-year-old Odaini up for potential release, though when and where he will go remains unclear. The ruling also represents the latest defeat for U.S. officials in their efforts to keep Guantánamo detainees behind bars.
[U.S.] officials kept a young man from Yemen in detention in Cuba from age 18 to age 26,'' Kennedy wrote. They have prevented him from seeing his family and denied him the opportunity to complete his studies and embark on a career.''
Pointedly, Kennedy added that the evidence before the court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure.''
Kennedy's ruling brings to 36 the number of Guantánamo Bay detainees who have successfully challenged their detentions through U.S. court proceedings.
Over the Bush administration's objections, a divided Supreme Court two years ago granted the Guantánamo detainees the right to file habeas corpus challenges.