Two New Briefs in Guantanamo Habeas Appeals

By Larkin Reynolds
Friday, January 28, 2011, 7:31 PM

We have new briefs in two Guantanamo habeas appeals--Al Madhwani v. Obama and Al Abdah v. Obama (Al Latif). The first is the government's response brief in Al Madhwani, a case in which Musa’ab Omar Al-Madhwani appeals Judge Thomas Hogan’s December 2009 bench ruling and January 2010 opinion affirming Al-Madhwani's detention, as well as two other interlocutory orders. In its brief, the government frames the issues as follows:

The district court found that Madhwani (1) voluntarily received weapons training at al-Farouq, the primary al-Qaida training camp, (2) carried a Kalashnikov assault rifle while traveling around Afghanistan with fellow al-Qaida trainees and two al-Farouq trainers once the camp closed following the September 11,2001 attacks, (3) associated with al-Qaida members in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the year following that closure, and (4) was captured while living alongside al-Qaida members in a safehouse in Karachi, Pakistan, where one roommate and a neighbor were killed in a 2-hour firefight with Pakistani forces.

The first question presented is whether the district court clearly erred in making these findings and concluding, based on these findings and the evidence as a whole, that Madhwani was part of al-Qaida. Related to this question is whether the district court applied the correct legal standard in concluding that this activity made Madhwani part of al-Qaida.

The second question presented is whether the district court improperly relied on evidence outside of the record in making these findings.

The third question presented is whether the district court clearly erred in finding Madhwani's statements to a Combatant Status Review Tribunal and Administrative Review Board were reliable and not tainted by prior claimed mistreatment.

The fourth question presented is whether the district court abused its discretion in rejecting one of Mahdwani's requests for discovery.

The other new brief is the petitioner's response brief in Abdah v. Obama (Case No. 10-5319).  In this case, the government appeals Judge Henry Kennedy’s  July 2010 opinion granting a writ of habeas corpus to petitioner Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, a Yemeni national. The petitioner presents the following issue:

Whether the district court clearly erred in finding that the Government failed to meet its burden of showing that the petitioner was part of the Taliban or al Qaeda.