Freed Algerian Detainee Flown to France
Saturday, May 16, 2009
A Guantanamo Bay detainee who lent his name to a landmark Supreme Court case was flown out of the military base in Cuba yesterday to France, the U.S. and French governments announced.
France said this month that it would accept Lakhdar Boumediene, a 43-year-old Algerian who was arrested with five compatriots in Bosnia in 2001. The six Algerians were accused of involvement in a plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, but the Justice Department later dropped the allegation and a U.S. federal judge last November ordered five of the six released.
Boumediene has relatives in France, which led the government there to accept him as a gesture to the Obama administration.
"The French have just taken an amazing leadership role here," said Robert Kirsch, one of Boumediene's civilian lawyers.
The Supreme Court ruled in
a 5 to 4 opinion in June that detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison have the right to petition federal district courts to review their detention. The case known as Boumediene v. Bush extended the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus to the detainees, who now number 240.
Staff writer Del Quentin Wilber contributed to this report.