(CN) – A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected a bid to release Guantanamo detainee who allegedly fought for al-Qaida, despite the government’s “gossamer thin” case against him.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson said there was enough evidence supporting the claim that 27-year-old Adham Mohammed Ali Awad of Yemen was involved with al-Qaida.
Awad was captured in January 2002 outside a hospital in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province following a seven-week standoff between al-Qaida forces and U.S.-led troops at the hospital. Awad was receiving treatment at the hospital for leg injuries from U.S. airstrikes following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the ruling states.
Awad and a group of al-Qaida fighters allegedly barricaded themselves inside the hospital after U.S.-led forces closed in on the area.
Awad claimed to have traveled to Afghanistan in September 2001 to “visit another Muslim country for a few months,” but the U.S. government said he joined up to fight with al-Qaida shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Among the evidence presented by the government, Awad’s name appears on a list taken from an al-Qaida training camp outside Kandahar.
Judge Robertson rejected the evidence involving Awad’s alleged terrorist training, but said there was “undisputed evidence that he was in Mirwais Hospital during part of the siege.”
Robertson called the case against Awad “gossamer thin” and admitted that the evidence has “very little weight,” but said it is enough to keep him detained. It is likely, Robertson said, that Awad knew the al-Qaida fighters present at the hospital in December 2001 and “joined them in the barricade,” making him “part of” al-Qaida.