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Idris v. Obama

October 6, 2009

IDRIS AHMAD ABDU QADIR IDRIS (ISN 35), PETITIONER,
v.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Before the Court are respondents' Motion [1160] to Dismiss and petitioner's Motions [1241, 1242, 1245] for Direct Contact with Client, to Compel Discovery Regarding Petitioner's Competence, Knowledge, and Voluntariness, and for an Expedited Ruling on Petitioner's Motion for Direct Contact with Client. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant respondents' motion and deny petitioner's motions.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 21, 2005, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a petitioner for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of petitioner and other detainees.*fn1 (Pet. for Habeas Corpus.) In the petition, Sami Muhyedin al Hajj, a Guantanamo Bay detainee, acted as "next friend" for petitioner and forty-nine other detainees. (Id.)

On July 29, 2008, the Court ordered counsel to file "a signed authorization from the petitioner to pursue the action or a declaration by counsel that states that the petitioner directly authorized counsel to pursue the action and explains why counsel was unable to secure the signed authorization" within 60 days. (Order [524] at 2.) Counsel from the Center of Constitutional Rights visited Guantanamo Bay on several occasions after the Court's Order, but were unable to obtain the required authorization from petitioner to proceed with this case.

Then, on November 14, 2008, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a Motion [700] to Appoint Counsel on November 14, 2008. The Court granted the motion and appointed the Officer of the Federal Public Defender for the North District of Ohio as counsel for petitioner. Counsel entered their appearance on December 15, 2008.

After obtaining their security clearances, counsel first visited Guantanamo Bay in February 2009. Since then, counsel visited Guantanamo in March, April, May, and June. Despite traveling to Guantanamo on five separate occasions,*fn2 counsel have yet to produce a signed authorization or declaration to proceed with this case as required by the Court's July 29, 2008 Order. On each visit, the guards have informed counsel that petitioner does not want to meet.

Although counsel has not met with petitioner, counsel's investigator, who speaks Arabic, met with petitioner's family in Yemen. The investigator explained the "Next Friend" concept to petitioner's brother, Abdulqader Ahmed Idris. Abdulqader then signed a Next of Friend Authorization to allow the case to proceed. (Pet'r's Opp'n Ex. A.) Abdulqader signed the authorization because he believes that as a result of his prolonged detention, petitioner "lacks the necessary voluntariness to make decisions on his own behalf," and because petitioner would want his brother "to take legal action on his behalf to secure his release." (Id.)

On April 29, 2009, respondents filed a Motion [1160] to Dismiss Due to Lack of Authorization of Representation. Petitioner opposed the motion and filed a Motion [1241] for Direct Contact with Client, a Motion [1242] to Compel Discovery Regarding Competence, Knowledge, and Voluntariness, and a Motion [1245] for an Expedited Ruling on Petitioner's Motion for Direct Contact with Client.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Petitioner's Motions for Direct Contact, to Compel, and for Expedited Ruling

As a threshold matter, the Court finds that the relief sought by petitioner's counsel in the motions for direct contact and to compel is not necessary to resolve respondents' motion to dismiss. In addition, petitioner's Motion for an Expedited Ruling is moot. Accordingly, the Court will deny petitioner's motions.

Contrary to petitioner's counsel's assertion, the Court finds that it is not necessary for counsel to meet with petitioner for petitioner to validly refuse to authorize counsel to pursue his action. By refusing to meet with counsel on at least five occasions, petitioner has unequivocally refused to authorize counsel to go forward with his case. Indeed, petitioner has had ample opportunity to change his mind and meet with counsel in order to authorize his case to proceed, but he has refrained from doing so.

Furthermore, the Court finds that nothing in the record indicates that petitioner suffers from any psychological damage as a result of his confinement at Guantanamo. Petitioner's refusal to meet with counsel is not enough to support counsel's claim that petitioner may suffer from an ...


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