Kuwaiti's Guantanamo detention upheld
Washington, July 8, 2010
An appeals court upheld the detention at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba of a Kuwaiti who went to Afghanistan in 2001 to become part of the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, according to a ruling released on Wednesday.
The unanimous three-judge panel rejected an appeal by Fawzi Al Odah, whose lawyers had argued that he was a teacher who went to Afghanistan to do charity work and to teach the Koran to the poor and needy.
He was captured near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in late 2001 and has been held at Guantanamo since early 2002.
The US appeals court upheld a ruling by a federal judge that sufficient evidence existed showing that al Odah had been part of the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.
The appeals court said al Odah's name and phone number appeared on a document on Al Qaeda's official website, that his passport was later recovered from an Al Qaeda safehouse in Karachi, Pakistan, and that two other individuals identified him as a Taliban and Al Qaeda member.
'Once in Afghanistan, al Odah sought out a Taliban official' and he went to a Taliban-run camp to train on an AK-47 rifle, Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote in the opinion.
Al Odah's attorneys had argued that he had been involved in innocent activity and that it was a case of mistaken identity.
The Kuwaiti is one of about about 180 prisoners left at the Guantanamo facility. President Barack Obama has pledged to close it, but those efforts have been delayed by political, legal and diplomatic hurdles.-Reuters