'Real-World' Trumps Gitmo Detainee's Claim
WASHINGTON (CN) - A former Guantanamo detainee cannot use WikiLeaks cables to sue the United States for pulling the strings behind his subsequent prosecution in Libya because revolutionaries have already broken him out of a maximum-security prison in Tripoli, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
Mohammad Rimi, 45, was one of the earliest prisoners in the U.S. Naval base in Cuba.
After being captured in Afghanistan in December 2001, Rimi arrived with the first batch of detainees in January 2002. He was released four years later to Libya. His transfer mooted his then-pending lawsuit challenging his "enemy combatant" designation; the lawsuit was dismissed shortly after the government provided an update to a federal judge.
On appeal, Rimi argued that the United States was responsible for the "collateral consequences" of his detention - that the Libyan government tried, convicted and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
Rimi claimed to have found proof of his allegations two years ago, after WikiLeaks published diplomatic cables that referred to an "MOU," or memorandum of understanding, between U.S. and Libyan officials regarding his detention.
But Rimi's lawsuit was "overtaken by real-world events," U.S. District Judge Richard Leon wrote in a 12-page ruling.
A year before "Cablegate," Rimi says, revolutionaries freed him while storming the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.
"Rimi thus concedes that he is no longer in anyone's custody," Judge Leon wrote.
Even if the cables proved the United States were at fault for his prosecution in Libya, his habeas case would still be moot, Leon added.
"For if this court were to reinstate his habeas petition and give a favorable ruling, it would not somehow undo his Libyan criminal conviction or have any other effect on the current Libyan government's decision to enforce that conviction," the judge wrote.