Detention & Guantanamo

Opening and Response Briefs Available for Suleiman v. Obama

By Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 4:31 PM

The appellant's brief and government's brief are now available for Suleiman v. Obama, one of the Guantanamo habeas cases currently before the D.C. Circuit Court. Petitioner Abdulrahman Suleiman challenges Judge Reggie Walton’s July 2010 decision denying him the writ of habeas corpus. Judge Walton found that the government’s evidence had established that Suleiman was a “part of” Al Qaeda and Taliban forces.

In his appeal, the petitioner argues that basic constitutional principles were violated by the district court’s ruling, and that the “part of” standard conflicts with two Supreme Court rulings. He also argues that Judge Walton erred by basing his ruling upon “negative inferences and unwarranted speculation.”

There are four questions before the court:

1.       Is Suleiman entitled to rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution? If so, did the District Court Judge violate those rights by holding that he may be imprisoned under the AUMF for conduct that pre-dated the effective date of the AUMF?

2.       Is Suleiman entitled to rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution? If so, did the District Court Judge violate those rights by denying Suleiman's petition for writ of habeas corpus on the basis of a standard.-the "part of' the Taliban standard adopted by this Court in Al Bihani -that is void for vagueness?

3.       Did the United States Supreme Court rule in Hamdi and Boumediene that in order to hold prisoners under the AUMF, the government must prove that the prisoners were both a part of the Taliban and were engaged actively in hostilities against the United States or its allies; and did this Court and the District Court err in failing to follow those rulings?

4.       Did the District Court Judge err in finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the government proved that Suleiman was a part of the Taliban?

Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled.