Is the DC Circuit Blocking Guantanamo Appeals?

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on May 11, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Is the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals responsible for blocking the efforts of Guantanamo Bay detainees to win their cases?

Despite the Supreme Court's holding in Boumediene v. Bush, allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to challenge their detention, the detainees aren't having much luck.

According to a study by Seton Hall Law School, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly ordered lower court judges to take a certain view of the evidence provided by the government in justifying the continued imprisonment of the detainees.

In fact, the report went on further to say that a clear pattern has emerged, showing that even when a Guantanamo detainee prevails in the district court, the decision inevitably gets overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Boumediene decision purportedly gave the detainees the right to have a meaningful review of their situations.

An example of the D.C. Circuit striking down a detainee’s appeal is in the case of Mohammed al-Adahi. A U.S. district judge said that there was a lack of “reliable evidence” to justify his continued detention. But on appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals criticized the lower court’s ruling, saying that the judge in that case did not display sufficient skepticism about al-Adahi.

Similarly, in the case of Adnan Latif, his release order was tossed by the court of appeals last year when Judge Janice Rogers Brown said that the district court didn’t give enough weight to government intelligence reports that Latif may have been seeking training at an al-Qaeda camp.

In essence, the report accuses the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of directing the lower courts into giving a presumption of accuracy to interrogation reports and other evidence submitted by the government.

As military commission hearings progress for five men held at Guantanamo Bay, several major Gitmo cases are being written about and re-examined by legal commentators. We’ll keep you posted on developments and more.

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