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December 16, 2008 5:15 PM

Bagram Detainee Released--but Bagram Legal Issues Persist

Posted by Daphne Eviatar

When we last wrote about the case of Ruzatullah and Rohullah, two Afghans detained by U.S. forces at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, Ruzatullah had already been released, but Rohullah was still being held, after being transferred to the national security wing of Afghanistan's Policharky prison.

Last week, lawyers for the two men--Eric Lewis and Katherine Toomey, partners at Baach Robinson & Lewis, and Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network--filed a notice with the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., voluntarily dismissing their habeas corpus petition because their clients are now both free. 

While that dismissal ends the case of Ruzatullah and Rohullah v. Gates, et al., the legal fight on behalf of other prisoners detained indefinitely without charge at the U.S.-run Bagram air base will continue. Four remaining habeas cases involving Bagram inmates are pending before U.S. district judge John Bates in Washington. 

Oral argument is scheduled for January 7 on a motion to dismiss that raises many of the same questions as did the Ruzatullah case--in particular, whether detainees at Bagram are entitled to habeas corpus review. The petitioners are represented by Foster and Barbara Olshansky, legal director of the International Justice Network, and the international human rights law clinics at Stanford University and Yale Law School. The Department of Justice will represent the government officials.

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