Shawali Khan v. Obama

2014 WL 4843907 (2014)

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Shawali Khan v. Obama

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
2014 WL 4843907 (2014)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Shawali Khan (plaintiff) was a citizen of Afghanistan who was captured by U.S. forces and detained at the Guantanamo Bay naval station starting in early 2003 under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). In 2008, Khan filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, challenging his detention as unlawful. Khan stated that he had been an innocent keeper of an oil shop, that corrupt Afghans lied about him in exchange for money, and that Arabic jihadist training materials recovered at his home and shop did not belong to him or were unimportant because he could not read them. For its part, the government’s case relied primarily on three informants. The first informant identified the Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) as a terror cell led by Khan’s uncle and explained HIG’s use of radio-triggered explosives to attack American military vehicles and personnel. HIG was associated with the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist forces. The second informant provided intelligence officials with precise radio frequencies and the type of explosives used by the HIG cell and specifically named Khan as a facilitator of radio contact among HIG members. A third informant also named Khan as a member of the HIG cell, describing how Khan used his shop as a meeting and contact point. After Khan was arrested, American forces found physical evidence at his home and shop, including Arabic materials relating to a number of terrorist activities and a book authored by a high-level leader of al-Qaeda. Officials also found a classified item that had been independently described by one of the informants. Based on all the evidence, the court found that Khan was being lawfully detained. After judgment was entered in 2010, Khan filed a motion for post-judgment relief based on subsequent developments. One major new development was the government’s disavowal of reliance on any of Khan’s statements to justify his detention.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bates, J.)

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