Judge orders Syrian Guantanamo inmate freed

WASHINGTON, (AFP) - A federal judge has ordered the release of a Syrian man held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, saying his imprisonment at the US-run detention after months of torture by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban "defies common sense."
According to court documents obtained by AFP Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon ordered the US administration to take all appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate the immediate release of Abdulrahim al-Ginco saying his continued incarceration was "taking a position that defies common sense."

Judge orders Syrian Guantanamo inmate freed
The government maintained that Ginco's alleged affiliation with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan -- where he is purported to have trained with extremists determined to wage "jihad" against US interests -- was sufficient to prove that he remains a terror threat.
But in a closed door hearing in May, his attorneys argued that any Taliban and Al-Qadea ties Ginco might have had would have been irrevocably severed after his incarceration and torture by those groups, which accused him of being a spy for the United States.
Ginco was referred to in court records by the name "Janko" the name he now uses, according to the judge.
Leon said the question now is "whether a prior relationship between a detainee and Al-Qaeda (or the Taliban) can be sufficiently vitiated by the passage of time, intervening events, or both, such as the detainee could no longer be considered 'part of' either organization at the time he was taken into custody."
The judge, appointed to the federal bench by former US President George W. Bush, added that "the government effectively concedes however that petitioner Janko was not only imprisoned, but tortured by Al-Qaeda into making a false 'confession' that he was a US spy, and imprisoned thereafter by the Taliban for over eighteen months at the infamous Sarpusa prison in Kandahar."
"The conditions in the Sarpusa were so terrible -- if not horrific -- that many prisoners died while incarcerated," he wrote.
Leon added that the Syrian's torture had been "barbaric" and "evinces a total evisceration of whatever relationship might have existed" with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.
The judge in his opinion expressed incredulity at the government's contention that "the extreme treatment Ginco was subjected to over a substantial period of time ... was not sufficient to vitiate the relationship."
"I disagree!" Leon exclaimed in his ruling.

Wednesday, June 24th 2009

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