Judge Dismisses Lawsuit of Guantanamo Detainee

By Del Quentin Wilber and Peter Finn
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 10, 2009; 1:06 PM

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a 34-year-old Saudi challenging his confinement at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because the detainee does not want to proceed with his case.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan followed a two-hour hearing on Friday that included testimony from the detainee, Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, via a secure video link to the prison, according to Sharbi's attorney, Robert Rachlin.

Rachlin declined to discuss anything specific that transpired at the hearing because it was closed to the public. He said his client has "consistently demanded that his case be dropped and has refused the assistance of military and civilian lawyers." Rachlin said Sharbi is "an aspiring martyr."

"He has disdain for the whole process," Rachlin said.

Under Sullivan's ruling, Sharbi can bring his suit again if he wants to, Rachlin said.

Sharbi is the first known detainee to successfully ask a federal judge to throw out his own lawsuit. The suit was brought on Sharbi's behalf by his father, Rachlin said.

Detainees were granted the right to challenge their confinements under the legal doctrine of habeas corpus in a landmark Supreme Court ruling in June.

According to military records, Sharbi attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona and returned to Saudi Arabia in 2000. He went to Afghanistan and attended an al-Qaeda training camp in 2001, the records show. In late 2001 and early 2002, he received training on how to build bombs at an al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan, the military alleged. While at the safe house, the military alleged, Sharbi acted as an English translator.

He was arrested that year in Pakistan with Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known by the nom de guerre Abu Zubaida, the records show.

Abu Zubaida is accused of being a top al-Qaeda lieutenant.

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