WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge ordered a May 12 hearing for the U.S. government’s motion against a Russian man in his 14th year of detention at Guantanamo Bay.
Ravil Mingazov, who turns 49 in December, is described in his detainee assessment as an “Islamic extremist and an admitted member of” the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a long-suspected terrorist cell that formally pledged allegiance to al-Qaida in mid-2015.
Since then, the IMU has been deemed a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a terror group often abbreviates as ISIL or ISIS.
Though Mingazov was behind bars long before the IMU’s union with the Taliban, the government still deems him an “enemy combatant” and a continued threat to national security, largely in connection to Mingazov’s apparent belief that U.S. foreign policy “support[s] the death of innocent people.”
Though Mingazov told interrogators at Guantanamo that he had left the IMU, the government still sees him as a valuable source of information on potential Taliban attacks against the U.S. and a possible direct liaison to al-Qaida operatives, according to his military assessment.
The prisoner is said to have received advanced lessons in explosives, poisons and assassinations from senior al-Qaida members in an Afghanistan training camp. Naval intelligence also tied Mingazov to the Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist cell tied to the bombing plot against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
“Detainee is assessed to be a high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies,” according to his military assessment, signed by Commanding Rear Admiral Mark Buzby.
While the Defense Department says Mingazov poses a high threat to national security, it also says the detainee has behaved in an overall “compliant and nonhostile” manner throughout his 14-year incarceration.
Though the Obama administration implemented the periodic review board process to re-evaluate longtime prisoners at Guantanamo, Mingazov is among those whom the Guantanamo Review Task Force has recommended for prosecution.
So far, the periodic review board has recommended release for 20 Guantanamo prisoners whom the United States previously deemed too dangerous to release but lacked evidence to put on trial. That number constitutes 71 percent of the 28 detainees who have gone through the full review process, and who were previously considered too dangerous to release.
Though a federal judge ordered Mingazov released in 2010, the U.S. government seeks relief from that order, citing both newly discovered evidence and error.
“If admitted,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan noted last week, “the government’s evidence would tend to make it more or less probable (the government would contend more probable) that petitioner was part of al-Qaeda, which was the dispositive factual issue at the heart of the court’s May 13, 2010, order that the government now seeks to vacate under Rule 60(b).”
The D.C. Circuit remanded the case for consideration of the government’s motion, prompting Mingazov to seek a hearing on the merits.
Judge Hogan agreed Thursday to hold a status conference on May 12, at which time the parties will schedule a merits-hearing date.
The ruling notes that Mingazov’s “motion fails to include any citation to legal authority suggesting that he may conduct post-judgment discovery in support of his opposition to a Rule 60(b) motion in a Guantanamo Bay detainee habeas case.”
“In sum, petitioner fails to persuade the court that it should exercise its discretion to grant the discovery he requests,” Hogan wrote.
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