Friday, April 17, 2009
Judge Ellen Huvelle's April 15, 2009, Memorandum Opinion ordering the government "to take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate [Guantanamo Detainee Basardh's] release" was released today in redacted form.
Basardh gained fame as a government informer at Guantanamo, providing the government with information on other detainees (which often ultimately proved unreliable) and in the process gaining a good number of enemies among the detainee population.
Judge Huvelle previously ordered Basardh's release; the redacted Memorandum Opinion, however, just came out today.
Judge Huvelle ruled that the AUMF, as interpreted by the Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, authorized detention only for the purpose of keeping a detainee off the battlefield--not for punishment, not for interrogation. Because the government couldn't show that Basardh was likely to return to the battlefield--the government didn't even contest this--Judge Huvelle ruled that there was no basis for his continued detention.
(The reason why Basardh is unlikely to return to battle is redacted throughout the opinion, but we can guess that he won't return because his informant activity has sufficiently alienated any terrorist groups now fighting against the U.S. that they won't take him. Here's my favorite redacted sentence: "The undisputed facts establish that Basardh's [redacted] is known to the world . . . ."--all, apparently, except reader of this opinion.)
Following an earlier D.C. Circuit ruling in the Uighurs' case, Judge Huvelle did not order Basardh released into the United States. (Recall the D.C. Circuit ruled in February that the district court violated separation-of-powers principles in ordering another group of detainees, the Uighurs, released into the U.S.)