July 11, 2012, New York, NY. -- Federal Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments on Monday, July 16,  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 nearly ten years ago, for indefinite imprisonment at Bagram Air Base.  At issue in the case is whether the U.S. government can continue to use Bagram as the “other Guantánamo” to indefinitely detain prisoners in U.S. custody without access to legal counsel or courts.

Yesterday, IJN and co-counsel filed a notice advising the Court that the U.S. government has revealed that it intends to retain control over a portion of the prison at Bagram for the purpose of detaining  Petitioners (along with approximately 50 other non-Afghan prisoners) in a legal black hole at Bagram.

The three petitioners in the case, Al Maqaleh, et al., v. Obama, are Fadi al-Maqaleh, Amin al-Bakri, and Redha al-Najar.  Each man has filed a petition for habeas corpus, seeking to challenge the legality of his prolonged arbitrary imprisonment without trial in Afghanistan.  Mr. al-Maqaleh is a Yemeni  citizen who was transferred to Bagram from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in approximately 2004, where he has languished ever since.  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.

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 43 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 46 year old Tunisian who was abducted from his home in Pakistan, where he lived with his wife and small child.  He was initially detained and tortured at secret C.I.A. “black sites,” before being forcibly rendered to Bagram in approximately 2003.

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 Bates, who 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 2010.

Now the case is back before Judge Bates on the basis of new evidence that was not yet on the record when the Court of Appeals issued its ruling.


The oral arguments in Al Maqaleh are open to the public and will take place on Monday, July 16, 2012, at 10:00 A.M. in Courtroom 14 of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 333 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.

Since 2006, IJN has been advocating for the legal rights of Bagram prisoners.  You can learn more about IJN’s work here.



Mahdis Keshavarz



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