Terror Suspect Wins Round in Court
Posted on Jul 4, 2010
An appeals court in D.C. has sided with an Algerian detainee, Belkacern Bensayah, finding that since there was no direct communication between Bensayah and al-Qaida, he could not be considered part of a terrorist group.
The decision sends Bensayah’s case back for reconsideration by the district court judge who in 2008 ruled that he could be held indefinitely without trial. It also calls into question the way the Obama administration classifies suspected terrorists. —JCL
The New York Times:
A federal appeals court has sided with a Guantánamo prisoner whose case prompted a major internal argument among Obama administration legal advisers last year over how broadly to define terrorism suspects who may be detained without trial.
Belkacem Bensayah, an Algerian who was arrested in Bosnia in 2001 and accused of helping people who wanted to travel to Afghanistan and join Al Qaeda, cannot be considered part of the terrorist organization based on the evidence the government presented against him, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled.
“The government presented no direct evidence of actual communication between Bensayah and any Al Qaeda member, much less evidence suggesting Bensayah communicated with” anyone else to facilitate travel by an Al Qaeda member, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg wrote in a 17-page opinion that was declassified late last week. Parts of the ruling were censored by the government.
A photo of Belkacem Bensayah is included in a U.S. government dossier.