Thursday, July 30, 2009
Two weeks after Judge Huvelle (D.D.C.) called the government's treatment of detainee Jawad's case an "outrage," and two days after the government informed the court that it would no longer treat Jawad as a detainable individual, Judge Huvelle today ordered Jawad released from Guantanamo.
Given the apparent dearth of evidence in the case and the appalling history (described by Judge Huvelle in the first link above), the government's position and the court's ruling don't tell us much about the larger issue of detention at Guantanamo, the government's position in detainees' habeas cases, or the courts' tolerances for continued detention in the absence of evidence supporting the new detention standard set earlier this year by the court. The case tells us only that when pressed on habeas the government will not continue to insist that it can detain without evidence that would stand up on habeas review.
Judge Huvelle also ordered the government to submit to Congress information about the case prior to releasing Jawad, pursuant to Section 14103(e) of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, Pub. L. no. 111-32. That provision, found on the very last page of the Act, requires the administration to report a detainee's name, the transfer country, assessment of the detainee's security risk, and the terms of the agreement with the transfer country. (Interestingly, President Obama did not object to this and related portions of the Act when he signed it, although he did object on constitutional grounds to portions of the Act directing his position with regard to the World Bank and the IMF.)
Judge Huvelle signalled that she'll keep her eye on the government: the last part of the order requires the government to file a status report by August 24 regarding Jawad's transfer.