Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Detainee’s Refusal to See Lawyers Kills His Case

(CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected a bid to release a Yemeni Guantanamo detainee, because he refused to meet with lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that Yemeni citizen Idris Ahmad Abdu Qadir Idris' refusal to sit down with lawyers forced the court to dismiss his habeas petition.

In 2005, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed the petition on Idris' behalf, but Idris refused to meet with the center's visiting counsel on numerous occasions.

"On each visit, the guards have informed counsel that petitioner does not want to meet," the ruling states.

As a result, the center could not provide signed documents showing that Idris wanted the center to pursue his case. An investigator working for the center's attorney visited Idris' family in Yemen and got a signature from his brother authorizing the case to proceed, but Judge Lamberth would not accept it.

There was no proof that Idris was unable to litigate his own case, the opinion states.

Lamberth found no evidence of psychological damage from Idris' stay at Guantanamo and declined to dig further into his "competence, knowledge and voluntariness."

In the original petition, the center listed another Guantanamo detainee, Sami Muhyedin al Hajj, as Idris' "next friend," but Idris never agreed to the next-friend designation, according to the ruling. The court also pointed out that there is no reason Idris could not appear on his own behalf.

Idris "has had ample opportunity to change his mind" about pursuing his petition, Lamberth wrote.

Idris was captured near the Pakistan-Afghan border in December 2001 and has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for seven years.

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