Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finally a DC Circuit opinion helpful to detainees (Updated)

Today the DC Circuit released a declassified version of an opinion from last week in which they reversed a decision by Judge Leon denying the Great Writ. In trying to explain the decision I made a leap that was not correct...... Bensayah was one of several Algerians being held and the Government's case was primarily one suggesting that he was suspicious and that should be enough to hold him: The Government claimed Bensayah had ties to an al-Qaeda operative (but now the Government has given up on the theory that the accused operative was actually connected to al-Qaeda) and Bensayah used fake id's to travel (on occasion) because his Algerian passport had expired and he couldn't go back to Algeria. The Government apparently rested much of his case on the ties to the al-Qaeda operative but more recently the government has backed off substantially on its allegations regarding that other the bottom line was that Bensayah was being held because he allegedly had ties to someone no longer considered to be connected to al-Qaeda and that he didn't have a current passport so he used fake id's ...on occasion. Of course when Judge Leon ruled the Government had not yet acknowledged that the other individual had no connection to al-Qaeda. Anyway it is nice that the DC Circuit has decided not to rubber stamp every Government win in the district court (fortunately there are not many Government wins.....)
Thanks to Mark Fleming and the Wilmer Hale team for this great victory.

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