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Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Afghan Gitmo Detainee|Loses Habeas Petition

(CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected the habeas petition of an Afghan detainee at Guantanamo Bay who the government claims belonged to a Taliban-associated force when he was captured in 2002.

U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled that the government obtained sufficient evidence from different sources to corroborate the detention of Shawali Khan.

Bates wrote that Khan did not dispute that he had a long-standing association with Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), working as a radio operator during the anti-Soviet jihad, but Khan claimed that he was only managing a small petrol shop in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when he was arrested in 2002.

But according to the government, Khan rejoined the group after Sept. 11, 2001, to work as a communicator for an HIG cell in Kandahar that plotted attacks on U.S. and coalition forces.

Khan claimed that he "had no involvement in any terror cell or in any activities in opposition to the United States or its allies" and "that there likely was no HIG cell in Kandahar at the time of his capture," according to the ruling.

He also argued that the government did not look for exculpatory evidence, issued biased declarations to substantiate its intelligence reports and relied on testimony from "notorious liars, drug abusers, criminals, and/or bounty hunters."

Bates said he believes that the investigators thoroughly vetted their informants to obtain reliable reports, and that the investigators corroborated the statements with their own research.

Khan insisted that the government had relied on a summary of his interrogation that may have been mistranslated, but Bates pointed out that "other evidence in the record corroborates Khan's admission."

"In light of this evidence, the court does not find credible Khan's insistence that he was merely managing a small petrol shop at the time of his capture," Bates concluded.

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