The United States District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday granted the United States’ motion to dismiss in Wahid v. Gates – a habeas case in which the petitioner had challenged his detention at Bagram. The gist of the analysis by Judge James Gwin (a trial judge from the Northern District of Ohio, sitting by designation in the District) seems, on first blush, to be a straightforward application of the D.C. Circuit’s Al Maqaleh ruling.
In short, Wahid had alleged facts that distinguished his case from that of the Al Maqaleh petitioners and, in his view, warranted habeas jurisdiction. But Judge Gwin didn’t think those differences justified a different conclusion than that reached by the D.C. Circuit in its controlling decision. Take, for example, Judge Gwin’s acknowledgement of uncertainty regarding Bagram’s status:
The Court recognizes certain inconsistencies about—and the unsettled nature of—the United States’s intentions for Bagram. But the lack of a certain end-date is not sufficient to extend the writ of habeas corpus to detainees. The Al Maqaleh court, when criticizing a similar position, cautionedthat “such an interpretation would seem to create the potential for the extraterritorial extension of the Suspension Clause to noncitizens held in any United States military facility in the world, and perhaps to an undeterminable number of other United States-leased facilities as well.”
Interesting stuff, considering that the details surrounding Bagram detentions seems recently to have caught the eye of Judge John Bates. Recall that Judge Bates recently set July motions hearings in two Bagram habeas cases . . .