Yemeni psych patient ordered freed from Guantánamo
BY CAROL ROSENBERG
WASHINGTON -- A federal judge ordered the immediate release of a Yemeni man who has spent long periods of captivity in the Guantánamo psych ward in split decisions Wednesday that upheld the indefinite detention of another Yemeni.
The U.S. District Court rulings left the so-called habeas corpus scorecard of government-detainee wins at 15-38. That means that judges have ruled more than twice as often for the release of detainees at Guantánamo, rather than holding them.
Judge Reggie Walton ruled for the government that it can continue to hold Abdul-Rahman Sulayman, 31, picked up in Pakistan and handed over to U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Chicago attorney Thomas P. Sullivan said he would soon travel to the remote U.S. Navy base in Cuba to consult with Sulayman.
In another court, Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. granted the petition of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, 34, in a single page order that instructed the Obama administration to ``take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate Latif's release forthwith.'' He also ordered Justice Department lawyers to report back by Aug. 20.
Latif's attorney, David Remes, has long described the man as despairing and suicidal -- covering himself in excrement, throwing blood at the lawyer, consuming shards of metal.
Both judge's decisions were under seal Wednesday, classified for a security review, so their reasonings were not immediately known.
Of Latif, Remes said, ``This is a mentally disturbed man who has said from the beginning that he went to Afghanistan seeking medical care because he was too poor to pay for it. Finally, a court has recognized that he's been telling the truth, and ordered his release.''
Remes also urged the Obama administration to lift its moratorium on repatriations to the turbulent Arabian Gulf nation of Yemen, and not appeal the Latif decision.
``He said conditions at Guantánamo are what had driven him to these extremes. He's languished so long it would be a crime to keep him incarcerated there,'' he said.
A Justice Department spokesman, Dean Boyd, said lawyers were reviewing Kennedy's decision to decide whether to appeal it. On Wednesday, there were 178 captives at Guantánamo.