MEDIA ADVISORY - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The appellate oral arguments in al-Maqaleh v. Obama are open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 31 of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse and William B. Bryant Annex of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 333 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.
September 12, 2013, New York, N.Y. -- The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Tuesday, September 17, in litigation brought by the International Justice Network (IJN) and co-counsel on behalf of three non-Afghan citizens whom the U.S. government forcibly rendered to Afghanistan ten years ago, for indefinite imprisonment at Bagram Air Base without charge or trial. The case is named al-Maqaleh, et al., v. Obama, and asks whether the U.S. government can continue to use Bagram as the “other Guantánamo” to imprison individuals indefinitely in U.S. custody without access to legal counsel or courts.
The three petitioners in the case are Fadi al-Maqaleh, Amin al-Bakri, and Redha al-Najar. Each man has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking to challenge the legality of his prolonged arbitrary imprisonment without trial in Afghanistan.
IJN initially filed the case on behalf of Mr. al-Maqaleh in 2006 -- the first legal challenge of its kind on behalf of a Bagram prisoner. Mr. al-Maqaleh is a 31-year-old Yemeni citizen who was transferred in approximately 2004 from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to Bagram, where he has been unjustly held ever since.
In 2008, IJN and co-counsel filed similar habeas petitions on behalf of Mr. al- Bakri and Mr. al-Najar.
Mr. al-Bakri is a 44-year-old Yemeni father of three, who was disappeared while on a routine business trip to Thailand, tortured at secret CIA “black sites,” and then forcibly rendered to Bagram in approximately 2003. IJN co-counsel, Main Street Legal Services, the legal clinic of the City University of New York School of Law, is lead counsel on Mr. al-Bakri’s case.
Mr. al-Najar is a 47-year-old Tunisian who was abducted from his home in Pakistan, where he was living with his wife and small child. He was initially detained and tortured at secret CIA “black sites,” before being forcibly rendered to Bagram in approximately 2003. The Law Office of Sylvia Royce is lead counsel on Mr. al-Najar’s case.
Despite being cleared for release by a U.S. military “Detainee Review Board,” all three men continue to languish at Bagram.
In 2009, the cases were consolidated before Judge John D. Bates in the D.C. District Court. Judge Bates found that each man had the right to challenge his detention in U.S. courts. However, the Obama administration appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -- which overturned Judge Bates’ ruling in May 2010.
By February 2011, the cases made their way back to Judge Bates on the basis of new evidence that was not yet on the record when the Court of Appeals issued its 2010 ruling. In response to the government’s request to dismiss the cases, however, Judge Bates ruled in October 2012 that the new evidence presented by the Maqaleh petitioners was not enough to overcome the Court of Appeals’ prior reasoning that U.S . courts lacked jurisdiction over the cases.
The Maqaleh petitioners subsequently appealed the dismissals, and the cases are now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for the second time.
You can read the Maqaleh petitioners’ opening appellate brief here, the government’s brief here, and the Maqaleh petitioners’ reply brief here.
Since 2006, IJN has been advocating for the legal rights of Bagram prisoners. You can learn more about IJN’s work here.
Principal • THE MAKE AGENCY