The Justice Department continued its winning streak Friday in legal challenges involving detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected an appeal by Moath Hamza Ahmed Al Alwi, a Yemeni citizen who is accused of being a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. In a 28-page opinion written by Judge Merrick Garland, a unanimous three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that had rejected Al Alwi’s challenge to his confinement.
Garland was joined by Judge David Tatel and Senior Judge Stephen Williams in their decision that the government had met its burden in proving it may detain Al Alwi.
Another three-judge panel also ruled Friday that freed detainees may not challenge their confinements or designations as “enemy combatants” in U.S. courts after being released. Two freed detainees had hoped to clear their names in court. However, the appeals court upheld the ruling by a federal judge that the men could not press their case because they had been released and were now beyond the jurisdiction of the courts. The opinion was written by Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, who was joined by Tatel and Judge Janice Rogers Brown.
The two rulings are just the latest from an an appeals court that has consistently sided with the Obama Administration in cases related to Guantanamo Bay detainees. In 2008, detainees won the right to challenge their confinements in U.S. Courts under the centuries-old legal doctrine of habeas corpus. The District’s federal judges preside over all of those cases; the judge’s may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.