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Abdullah v. Obama

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

April 4, 2014

HANI SALEH RASHID ABDULLAH, DETAINEE, CAMP DELTA, APPELLANT, RAMI BIN SAAD AL-OTEIBI, DETAINEE, CAMP DELTA, APPELLEE, YOSRA SALEH RASHID ABDULLAH, NEXT FRIEND OF HANI SALEH RASHID ABDULLAH, APPELLANT
v.
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., APPELLEES

Argued, January 21, 2014

Page 194

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:05-cv-00023).

Stephen M. Truitt argued the cause for the appellant. Charles H. Carpenter was on brief.

Sharon Swingle, Attorney, United States Department of Justice, argued the cause for the appellees. Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General, and Dana L. Kaersvang, Attorney, were on brief.

Before: HENDERSON, Circuit Judge, and WILLIAMS and RANDOLPH, Senior Circuit Judges. Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. Concurring opinion filed by Senior Circuit Judge RANDOLPH, with whom Circuit Judge HENDERSON joins.

OPINION

Page 195

Karen LeCraft Henderson, Circuit Judge

Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah (Abdullah) is a Yemeni national who has been detained by the United States at the United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (Guantanamo) since 2002 as an enemy combatant. In 2005, Abdullah filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging his detention. Abdullah eventually sought preliminary injunctive relief in 2010, when he asked the court to enjoin the United States from holding him in violation of a 1946 executive agreement between Yemen and the United States (Yemen Agreement or Agreement). The district court denied his motion. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I

Abdullah's motion for a preliminary injunction recounts that Abdullah traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan in the months before September 11, 2001, to attend a terrorist " training camp." Mot. for Prelim. Inj. 7, Abdullah v. Obama, Civ. No. 05-0023 (D.D.C. Oct. 8, 2010). Abdullah left the camp following the September 11, 2001 attacks to defend an airstrip in southern Afghanistan against the impending United States invasion. In December 2001, Abdullah abandoned his post at the airstrip and fled to nearby Pakistan. Pakistani authorities arrested Abdullah in Karachi, Pakistan, on September 11, 2002, and he was transferred to United States custody shortly thereafter. After brief stints of detention in Kabul and at the Bagram Airfield Military Base, both locations in Afghanistan, the United States moved Abdullah to Guantanamo in October 2002. Abdullah remains detained at Guantanamo as an enemy combatant pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224, 224 (2001), which confers on the President the authority to detain enemy combatants " for the duration of the particular conflict in which they were captured." Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 518, 124 S.Ct. 2633,

Page 196

159 L.Ed.2d 578 (2004) (plurality opinion); id. at 588-89 (Thomas, J., dissenting); see also Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 733, 128 S.Ct. 2229, 171 L.Ed.2d 41 (2008); Janko v. Gates, 741 F.3d 136, 138 (D.C. Cir. 2014); Maqaleh v. Hagel, 738 F.3d 312, 317, 407 U.S.App. D.C. 323 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

On January 7, 2005, Abdullah petitioned the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for habeas corpus relief. Although the United States Supreme Court has held that a Guantanamo detainee can petition for habeas corpus relief in federal court, see Boumediene, 553 U.S. at 771 (Suspension Clause, Art. I, ยง 9, cl. 2, " has full effect at Guantanamo Bay" ), the district court did not act on Abdullah's petition. Abdullah then sought preliminary injunctive relief. In his motion, Abdullah asserted that he has been indefinitely detained by the United States in ...


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