United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION [Dkt. # 1529]
RICHARD J. LEON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Abdul Razak Ali ("Ali" or "petitioner")
challenges his continued detention at the United States Naval
Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been held since
June 2002. Although this Court, Ali v. Obama, 741
F.Supp.2d 19 (D.D.C. 2011), and our Court of Appeals, Ali
v. Obama, 736 F.3d 542 (D.C. Cir. 2013), previously
determined that Ali could lawfully be detained as an enemy
combatant under the Authorization for Use of Military Force
("AUMF"), Pub. L. No. 107-40 § 2(a), 115 Stat.
224 (2002), Ali now argues that the amount of time that has
passed since his apprehension renders his continued detention
unlawful under the AUMF and the due process clause of the
Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Const, amend.
before the Court is Ali's Corrected Motion for Order
Granting Writ of Habeas Corpus [Dkt. # 1529] ("Corrected
Mot."). Upon consideration of the pleadings, the law,
the record, and for the reasons stated below, I find that
Ali's detention remains lawful, and DENY
his Corrected Motion for Order Granting Writ of Habeas Corpus
Abdul Razak Ali is an Algerian national. See Ali,
741 F.Supp.2d at 21, In March 2002, he was captured by
Pakistani forces in a four-bedroom house in Faisalabad.
Pakistan along with a well-known al Qaeda facilitator, Abu
Zubaydah. Id. Indeed, Abu Zubaydah was at that very
time assembling a force to attack U.S. and Allied forces.
Id. Captured along with petitioner and Abu Zubaydah
were a bevy of Abu Zubaydah's senior leadership,
including instructors in engineering, small arms, English
language (with an American accent), and various electrical
circuitry specialists. See Id. Also found at the
guesthouse were pro-al Qaeda literature, electrical
components, and at least one device typically used to
assemble remote bombing devices (i.e., improvised explosive
devices or "IEDs"). See Id. Following his
capture, and before his transfer to Guantanamo, Ali was
transported to Bagram Air Force Base for questioning. See
Id. Since June 2002, he has been held at the U.S. Naval
Base at Guantanamo Bay.
filed his first petition for writ of habeas corpus in this
Court on December 21, 2005. See Pet. for a Writ of
Flabeas Corpus, Ali v. Bush, Civ. No. 5-2386 (D.D.C.
Dec. 21, 2005) [Dkt. # 1]. The case was initially assigned to
Judge Walton. As with the hundreds of other habeas petitions
filed around the same time, Ali's case was stayed pending
the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v.
Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 771 (2008) (holding that Guantanamo
detainees are "entitled to the privilege of habeas
corpus to challenge the legality of their detention").
the Boianediene decision, for reasons of judicial
economy, Judge Walton transferred this case to then-Chief
Judge Royce Lamberth. Order, Ali v. Obama, Civ. No.
5-2386 (D.D.C. Apr. 21, 2009) [Dkt. #1153]. On June 6, 2010,
while the discovery process was pending, and after denying
Petitioner's Motion to Expedite, Judge Lamberth recused
himself on Petitioner's Motion. Order, Ali v.
Obama, Civ. No. 5-2386 (D.D.C. June 6, 2010) [Dkt. #
1418]. On June 16, 2010, Ali's case was randomly
reassigned to this Court. See Reassignment of Civil
Case, Ali v. Obama, Civ. No. 9-745 (D.D.C. June 16,
2010) [Dkt. # 1419].
August 25, 2010, I issued a Case Management Order
("CMO"). See Case Management Orders,
Ali v. Obama, Civ. No. 10-1020 (D.D.C. Aug,
25, 2010) [Dkt. # 1423], This order was virtually identical
to those issued in the eight habeas petitions that had been
previously litigated before this Court. See Ali, 741
F.Supp.2d at 22. The CMO placed the burden of proof on the
Government, set the standard of proof as preponderance of the
evidence, provided discovery rights for detainees (including
a right to "exculpatory" materials), formulated the
procedural processes that would guide the hearings in Court,
and set forth the definition of "enemy combatant."
Id. at 24 n.2. These procedures had already been
blessed by our Court of Appeals. See Al-Bihani v.
Obama, 590 F.3d 866, 869-70, 875-881 (D.C. Cir. 2010).
December 2010, 1 conducted three days of hearings on the
merits of Ali's petition. Unfortunately for Mr. Ali,
following those hearings, I concluded that he was being
lawfully detained as an "enemy combatant."
Ali, 741 F.Supp.2d at 27. I based this determination
on (i) the undisputed fact that Ali was captured at a
guesthouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, with a well-known al
Qaeda facilitator, Abu Zubaydah; (ii) credible testimony from
other individuals at the guesthouse that Ali participated in
Abu Zubaydah's "training programs'" while
in their company at the guesthouse; and (iii) credible
evidence placing Ali in various locations in Afghanistan with
Abu Zubaydah and his band of followers. See Id. at
25-27. Our Circuit affirmed my decision on December 3, 2013.
See Ali, 736 F.3d at 543. And at oral argument in
this case, Ali's counsel confirmed that the present
habeas petition does not challenge my earlier ruling
as to the legality of Ali's apprehension and detention.
See 3/23/18 Hr'gTr. 4:25-5:5 [Dkt. #
January 2009, President Obama established the Guantanamo Bay
Review Task Force. See Exec. Order No. 13, 492, 74
Fed. Reg. 4897 (Jan. 22, 2009). The Task Force was charged
with evaluating whether each detainee's "continued
detention is in the national security and foreign policy
interests of the United States." Id. §
2(d), 74 Fed. Reg. 4897-99. The Task Force reviewed the
status of each Guantanamo detainee, and made a recommendation
whether to (i) transfer the detainee, (ii) continue his
detention, or (iii) prosecute him. Final Report: Guantanamo
Rev. Task Force at 1 (Jan. 22, 2010) ("GTMO Task Force
separate Executive Order requires periodic status reviews of
detainees, like Ali. whom the Task Force decided to continue
to detain. See Exec. Order 13, 567, 76 Fed. Reg. 13,
277 (Mar. 7, 2011); see also Exec. Order 13, 823, 83
Fed. Reg. 4831, 4831-32 (Jan. 30. 2018) (continuing these
procedures for periodic reviews). The Periodic Review Board
("PRB" or "Board") conducts these
reviews. This process assesses whether continued custody of a
detainee is necessary to protect against a significant threat
to the security of the United States. Exec. Order 13, 567,
§ 2. It is not intended as an assessment of the legality
of continued detention. Id. § 8.
the initial PRJ3 review, each detainee is eligible for a
"full" review every three years. Id.
§ 3(b). In addition, each detainee is eligible for a
"file review" every six months. Id. §
3(c). If the file review reveals that a "significant
question" has arisen concerning the detainee's
continued detention, then a full PRB review is promptly
February 16, 2018 submission, the Government represented that
Ali had his initial Periodic Review Board hearing on July 6,
2016. See Respondents' Opposition to
Petitioners' Mot. for Order Granting Writ of Flabeas
Corpus, Ali v. Trump, Civ. No. 10-1020, at 7 (Feb.
16, 2018) [Dkt. # 1525] ("Opp'n"). The
PRB designated Ali For continued detention. Id.
Ali's PRB file was reviewed on February 3, 2017 ...