Algerian detainee’s plea fails

(SCOTUS Blog) The D.C. Circuit Court on Thursday refused to reconsider one of its broadest rulings against judges’ power to control how or when the government moves detainees out of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.  It did so this time without any noted dissent, thus rejecting a plea by an Algerian national, Ahmed Belbacha, who fears torture or even death if he is transferred back to his homeland.  The Circuit Court has yet to rule directly on a government plea to deny any legal relief to Belbacha by dismissing his case.

Belbacha’s lawyers had urged the Circuit Court to use his case as a vehicle to reexamine its decision in April of last year in the case of Kiyemba v. Obama (05-5487), the one in which a Circuit Court panel had ruled that federal judges have no authority to block the transfer of any detainee out of Guantanamo.   That decision (informally known as “Kiyemba II”) was denied en banc review last July by the Circuit Court (three judges dissented), and then was denied review by the Supreme Court on March 22, and nothing has happened directly in the case since then.

Belbacha’s counsel had argued that, since all panels of the Circuit Court were bound by the Kiyemba II ruling curbing judges’ power over transfers (unless that were reconsidered by the en banc Court), his chances of being protected against an involuntary transfer to Algeria were remote, at best. 

Read more here.


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