Supreme Court rejects Guantánamo detainees' appeals for better protections
The appeals of three Guantánamo detainees are among the first dealing with this issue to emerge from the Washington federal appeals court. The Supreme Court refused the cases without comment.
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In November of that year, Awad was seriously wounded during an air raid near Kandahar. He was taken to a civilian hospital where his right leg was amputated.Skip to next paragraph
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A month later, while Awad was still recovering, a group of Al Qaeda fighters took over a wing of the hospital. Opposing US and Afghan forces surrounded the wing and laid siege.
One of the Al Qaeda fighters was captured during the siege. During interrogation, he provided the names of eight individuals in the hospital wing, including the name Abu Waqqas. He told his interrogators that Abu Waqqas had lost his right leg.
Four of the names provided by the fighter were listed on a document that US forces had allegedly recovered from an Al Qaeda training camp. This list included the name “Abu Waqas.”
Eventually, the Al Qaeda fighters surrendered Awad to the opposing forces because he needed additional medical attention.
After being treated, he was transferred to Guantánamo as a suspected enemy combatant.
In his habeas petition, Awad’s lawyers argued that he was never a member of Al Qaeda. They said he was a civilian who was gravely wounded and ended up in the same hospital wing as the Al Qaeda fighters.
His lawyers challenged the use of hearsay intelligence and interrogation reports and the low standard of proof. The courts ruled against Awad, finding “more likely than not” that he knew the Al Qaeda fighters in the hospital and joined them during the siege.
Teacher captured at Pakistan border
The third detainee, Fawzi Khalid al-Odah, traveled to Afghanistan in August 2001 from Kuwait. He was a teacher and says he went to Afghanistan to perform charity work for two weeks before the start of the new school year in Kuwait.
The US government says he went to Afghanistan to join the forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He was captured trying to cross the border into Pakistan in November or December 2001 with a large group of men, many of whom were armed. Mr. Odah was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle at the time.
He was turned over to US forces and transferred to Guantánamo in early 2002.
Odah says he spent his time in Afghanistan teaching, not fighting. The government says he admitted attending a training camp and that he was part of a group of 150 men in the Tora Bora region during the fighting there.
In addition, according to the government, Odah’s passport, which was left with an acquaintance in Afghanistan, was later recovered at an Al Qaeda safehouse in Karachi, Pakistan.
A federal judge dismissed Odah’s petition for release, finding it was more likely than not he had become part of the forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The appeals court upheld the decision.