Sunday, September 27, 2009

Court orders Guantanamo detainee release, rebukes US government

* District judge says government relied on scant evidence, uncredible witnesses and coerced confessions to hold Kuwaiti man for more than seven years

WASHINGTON: A federal judge has ordered the release of a Kuwaiti man held at Guantanamo Bay and rebuked the US government for relying on scant evidence, uncredible witnesses and coerced confessions to hold him for more than seven years.

In an opinion declassified on Friday, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said government attorneys presented a “surprisingly bare” record during four days of classified hearings last month to oppose Fouad Al Rabiah’s request for release from the US naval detention facility in Cuba. She said the aviation engineer is being held almost exclusively on confessions obtained through abusive techniques, and his own interrogators repeatedly concluded they were not believable.

“Incredibly, these are the confessions that the government has asked the court to accept as truthful in this case,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a 65-page opinion that was partially redacted to remove classified material. She called the coerced confessions “entirely incredible” and said they “defy belief”.

“If there exists a basis for Al Rabiah’s indefinite detention, it most certainly has not been presented to this court,” she found.

Al Rabiah is the 30th Guantanamo detainee to be ordered released by federal judges after they reviewed evidence justifying detention. Seven detainees have been denied bids for freedom after judges determined the evidence suggested they supported terrorism. Some detainees who have won their freedom from judges remain at Guantanamo because no other country is willing to accept them. Al Rabiah’s attorney David Cynamon said Kuwait has said it would allow him to return home, and he will be pushing aggressively for quick release.

“This case exemplifies everything that is wrong with Guantanamo,” Cynamon said. “He’s a completely innocent man and they torture him into confessing, right out of the North Korean and communist Chinese play book. It turns your stomach.” The Justice Department would not comment on the judge’s opinion. ap

Daily Times


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