Guess What's Happening Tomorrow: A Guantanamo Habeas Hearing

By Benjamin Wittes
Monday, December 19, 2016, 12:11 PM

Don't look now but we're about to see at least one new Guantanamo habeas merits hearing—tomorrow, in fact.

We've written a fair bit in the past about the case of Moath Hamza Al Alwi, who lost a habeas case in the D.C. Circuit a while back. Now, however, he's back in court with a new habeas case arguing that the conflict in which he is subject to detention is over. The argument is taking place tomorrow before Judge Richard Leon.

Here's the briefing. Al Alwi's core claim in this new habeas petition is that the conflict in which he was detained has ended. The United States, he argues, has declared the end of its combat mission in Afghanistan. And it therefore lacks the legal authority to continue to hold him.

The government, unsurprisingly, has a different view of the case. It argues that the U.S. remains in a state of active hostilities with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces in Afghanistan and that the determination, in any event, of when a conflict is over is a matter for the political branches:

Here's Al Alwi's opposition to the government's motion to dismiss and the government's reply brief:

This month, after a protracted delay in the matter of more than a year, Al Alwi filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the D.C. Circuit, seeking to force Judge Leon to decide the matter:

Three days later, the court schedule tomorrow's hearing and the petitioner withdrew the mandamus request as moot: