FOIA Saga Ends for American Jailed in Yemen

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge granted summary judgment to the Department of Justice after it found and released one final document responsive to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Sharif Mobley, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Yemen.



     The document released to Mobley is an unclassified email exchange between the DOJ’s Civil Division and its Office of Legal Counsel.
     “While the email is unclassified, it contained material alleged by the defendant to be protected by the deliberative process privilege and the attorney work product privilege,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wrote. “Consequently, the defendant redacted the privileged information contained in the email exchange and released the redacted document to the plaintiff on March 30, 2012.”
     With the release of e-mail exchange, Howell granted the government’s motion for summary judgment.
     Howell earlier this year refused to grant the same motion, and ordered the Justice Department to explain its withholding of 13 responsive records found but withheld under alleged exemptions for national defense and attorney-client privilege.
     The email released to Mobley in March was found after Howell ordered the Justice Department to explain its position on withholding records about Mobley’s capture and detention.
     Mobley says he is in a Yemen prison, accused of murdering a prison guard. Believing that the U.S. government played a role in his arrest and incarceration, Mobley filed a FOIA request for records.
     After the government announced its withholding of the records found, Mobley’s attorney asked Justice to explain if the documents were “general records about renditions and the like, or if they directly discuss Mr. Mobley.”
     Howell reaffirmed the government’s position that the records were properly withheld.

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