Federal judge grants Guantanamo detainee request to dismiss suit challenging detention

[JURIST] A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday dismissed [order, PDF] a lawsuit by Saudi Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi that challenged his confinement based on a request [text, PDF] from al-Sharbi himself. According to al-Sharbi's attorney, Judge Emmet Sullivan made the decision after a private hearing [Washington Post report] conducted Friday through a video link with the prison. Sullivan wrote:

While the Court may certainly question the wisdom of abandoning a legal challenge to a detention that has lasted seven years without trial, the Court cannot say that Mr. Al Sharbi is incompetent or is making the decision to withdraw the pending habeas petition involuntarily and unknowingly. Mr. Al Sharbi was able to articulate to the Court his own reasons for wishing to proceed in this manner. The Court cannot say that these reasons are based on incompetence, mental infirmity, or the result of threat or coercion.
The dismissal was without prejudice and would not bar al-Sharbi from bringing suit again.

Al-Sharbi was initially charged [DOD charge sheet, PDF] with conspiracy for his alleged involvement with al Qaeda. At a pre-trial hearing in 2006, al-Sharbi denied war-crime allegations [JURIST report] but admitted to fighting against the United States. The charges were thrown out when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] in 2006 that the military commission system as initially constituted violated US and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [DOD materials], which established the current military commissions system. Al-Sharbi was charged again [JURIST report] in 2008 with a new conspiracy charge and for providing material support for terrorism. The charges against him were later dismissed without prejudice [JURIST report] although he remained in custody awaiting a decision on being recharged.


 

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