Sunday, April 4, 2010
Last Thursday, Judge Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the habeas petitions of 105 non-U.S. citizens who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), but who have since been transferred to other countries or released. Although the petitioners no longer sought release from U.S. custody, many of them sought other relief, such as U.S. assistance in release from a foreign sovereign or a reversal of a finding that the petitioner is an enemy combatant. In his opinion dismissing the petitions, Judge Hogan stated that he was resolving one of the questions left open by the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush - while Gitmo detainees have a right to file petitions for habeas corpus, what happens to those petitions once the detainees have been transferred to a foreign country or released? Judge Hogan determined that in such cases, the U.S. District Court does not have jurisdiction to grant relief because the petitioners are no longer in U.S. custody. Accordingly, he dismissed all 105 habeas petitions as moot.