Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Privilege to Decline Habeas

Judge Emmet Sullivan (D.D.C.) today dismissed a Guantanamo detainee's habeas petition, at the detainee's request.  Judge Sullivan's order dismissing Ghassan al Sharbi's petition is here; al Sharbi's hand-written motion, filed on August 8, 2008, is here.

Al Sharbi claimed in his motion simply that he did not authorize the habeas petition (which was filed on his behalf by an attorney hired by his father).  Al Sharbi wrote that he has "an access to the U.S. Courts.  Therefore there should not be, in the future, any case filed on my behalf."

Judge Sullivan, after detailing his efforts to evaluate al Sharbi's competence, wrote:

While the Court may certainly question the wisdom of abandoning a legal challenge to a detention that has lasted seven years without trial,[fn] the Court cannot say that Mr. Al Sharbi is incompetent or is making the decision to withdraw the pending habeas petition involuntarily or unknowingly.

[fn]  It appears that Mr. Al Sharbi has been charged three times in the Military Commission proceedings, but to date none of those charges have resulted in a trial or been adjudicated to conclusion.



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