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Federal judge rejects Algerian Guantanamo detainee's habeas petition

A federal judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday denied [opinion, PDF] the habeas corpus petition of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Abdul Razak Ali. The judge rejected Razak Ali's claim of mistaken identity and ruled that US officials acted on sufficient credible evidence of his association with al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] operative Abu Zubaydah when detaining him in March 2002. In his ruling, US District Judge Richard Leon cited:

...[the] obvious and common-sense inference that a terrorist leader like Abu Zubaydah would not tolerate an unknown and untrusted stranger to dwell in a modest, two-story guesthouse for two weeks with himself and ten or so of his senior leadership, while they are preparing for their next operation against US and Allied forces...
Considering the circumstances in addition to available supporting evidence, Leon concluded that Razak Ali "more likely than not" worked in conjunction with Abu Zubaydah.

The district court has ruled in favor of the government in 20 habeas corpus cases [JURIST news archive], while Guantanamo detainees have prevailed in 38. In July, the court granted the habeas petition [JURIST report] of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif [NYT profile] and ordered his immediate release. A court of appeals a week earlier overturned a decision granting habeas relief [JURIST report] to detainee Mohammed al-Adahi, ruling that the evidence, viewed as a whole, supported the conclusion that al-Adahi was part of al Qaeda. Last month, lawyers for Abu Zubaydah asked Polish prosecutors to investigate claims that he was abused [JURIST report] in a secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] in the country.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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