Alleged al-Qaida Fighter Loses Bid for Release

     (CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected the habeas corpus petition of a Guantanamo detainee whom the government pegged as an al-Qaida fighter.
     Detainee Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad Al Odah admitted to traveling to Afghanistan in August 2001 and meeting up with a Taliban official who brought him to an al-Qaida training camp outside Kandahar, where he learned to shoot an AK-47 rifle. The camp was likely Al Farouq, al-Qaida's main Afghan basic training camp, according to the ruling.
     After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Taliban official sent Al Odah to stay with a friend in Logar, where Al Odah turned over his passport, the standard operating procedure for entering al-Qaida and Taliban guesthouses, and received an AK-47 from an al-Qaida fighter. Carrying his Taliban-issued AK-47, Al Odah moved into the Tora Bora mountains, where he stayed during the Battle of Tora Bora, which raged between al-Qaida fighters and allied forces between Dec. 6 and Dec. 18, 2001.
     Al Odah was captured by border guards on Dec. 18.
     He claimed to have traveled to Afghanistan on a two-week humanitarian teaching mission, but the U.S. government found the story not credible.
     "[T]he route traveled by Al Odah - Dubai, Karachi, Quetta, Spin Buldak and Kandahar - was a route followed by some individuals who were seeking to enter Afghanistan for purposes of jihad," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote. Al Odah said he was trying to leave Afghanistan after Sept. 11, but the government pointed out that Al Odah moved right toward the conflict, instead of taking the traditional route through the Kyber Pass.
     Al Odah was among the first Guantanamo detainees to file a petition for habeas corpus, which he did on May 1, 2002.