Friday, June 5, 2009

so much for the kinder, gentler administration

I know it is hard work. Bush told us that. But Bush was a slacker... so come on Obama.... aren't you better than that?

Two days ago, DoJ notified one of my fellow habeas counse that the Obama Review Team had cleared their client (Umar Abdulayev) for transfer to his native Tajikistan. The government tried to designate this information as "protected" under the protective order. Umar's lawyers objected to this designation and the government filed (under seal) a motion to stay Umar's habeas case. Yesterday, Judge Walton denied the government's motion and the government's attempt to designate the information as protected.
This development raises one of all of our worst fears, which is that our list of clients needing humanitarian protection and the government's list do not coincide. Or worse. That they do coincide but the Obama administration could care less.

Umar cannot return to Tajikistan - a country he has not lived in since he was 13, (back in 1992). In fact, Tajik officials made several trips to Guantanamo during Umar's years at Guantanamo to interrogate Umar and all the Tajiks (approximately 13). The Tajik officials specifically threatened Umar with imprisonment, torture, and death, and similarly threatened at least two other of their nationals detained there. The other two men who were threatened were repatriated by the U.S. in early 2007 and sentenced to 17-year prison terms in Tajikistan for nebulous "national security" offenses. According to the State Department, Tajikistan is a human rights abusing state where torture is prevalent, due process lacking, and where the ICRC is refused access to prisons. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has now followed in the footsteps of the Bush administration in determining to return Umar and perhaps other Tajikistan nationals to that country.