Judge says US held Afghan man unlawfully at Guantanamo Bay

A United States judge has ruled the United States has no legal basis for holding an Afghan man at the notorious US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, setting the stage for his potential release, his lawyer told Al Jazeera.

Asadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan national, has been held at Guantanamo since June 2007 after he was captured in the eastern city of Jalalabad by Afghan forces and turned over to the US military.

US District Court Judge Amit Mehta, ruling on a petition of habeas corpus, has rejected the US government’s arguments for continuing to hold Gul in detention at Guantanamo.

“The outcome of the petition was that it was granted,” said Tara Plochocki, Gul’s lawyer who said she was “delighted” by the judge’s ruling.

Gul was held for 14 years at Guantanamo without charge and denied access to a lawyer for the first nine years of his detention, according to Reprieve, a US legal advocacy group. In 2016, his lawyers filed a petition in federal court in Washington, DC, arguing his detention was unlawful.

Details of the judge’s ruling are classified as secret for the time being but Gul’s lawyer said the result is clear.

“The judge has ruled that his detention is illegal. And as with any other court order against the US government, there is a constitutional obligation to give affect to that order. And so, it should mean that he is immediately released,” Plochocki told Al Jazeera.

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