Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Detainee still held 6 years after release order

A judge ordered a Guantánamo captive to be freed in 2004, but he is still being held as the government decides whether to appeal
Source: Miami, By CAROL ROSENBERG, 18/08/2010

The Pentagon recommended as far back as 2004 to send an emotionally stricken Guantánamo captive back to Yemen, according to a judge's release order made public this week. But the man is still held at the prison camps in southeast Cuba.

Moreover, it wasn't until 2007 that the Bush administration put Adnan Abdul Latif, now about 34, on a transfer list. By then, the issue of transfers to Yemen, Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland, was mired in a diplomatic standoff over whether the Arabian Peninsula nation could provide security assurances and rehabilitate suspected radicalized Guantánamo detainees.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy disclosed the timeline in a heavily censored 28-page ruling made public on Monday night that ordered Latif set free. Latif is the 38th Guantánamo captive to be found by a federal judge to be illegally detained at the U.S. base.

Kennedy first ordered the Obama administration to arrange for Latif's release ``forthwith'' on July 21. But a Justice Department spokesman, Dean Boyd, said government lawyers were still deciding Tuesday night whether to appeal.

``Why they continue to defend holding him is unfathomable,'' said David Remes, Latif's free-of-charge attorney. ``Adnan's case reflects the Obama administration's complete failure to bring the Guantánamo litigation under control.''

Latif, held at Guantánamo since Jan. 18, 2002, has said for years that he had suffered a head injury in his teens and was in Pakistan and Afghanistan seeking Islamic charity medical care before his capture. The U.S. Justice Department countered that Latif was seen at an al Qaeda guest house and trained with the terror movement.

But in the portion of the judge's ruling made public Kennedy noted that the Pentagon's own military intelligence analysis found no eyewitness to back up the claim, only war-on-terror captives who had seen him in U.S. prison camps.

Kennedy quoted from a 2004 Defense Department report that recommended he be sent home.
Latif's lawyer said the Yemeni has spent long periods of his captivity in the psychiatric ward after repeated suicide attempts and reacted with despair to the judge's ruling.
``He sees death as his only way out,'' Remes said.

He has covered himself in excrement, thrown blood at the lawyer, swallowed shards of metal and tried to eat glass in dozens of self-harm episodes, Remes said.

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