U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on September 17, 2009, ordered the U.S. Government to release Al Rabiah “forthwith.” Yet, three weeks later, the U.S. Government has refused to comply with the judge’s order.
“Because Respondents [Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Rear Admiral Tom Copeman] have made clear that they will not comply with the Release Order voluntarily, civil contempt is an appropriate remedy,” the attorneys wrote in a motion filed today with U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Rear Admiral Tom Copeman is the current commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
Gates and Copeman “have made clear that they will do nothing to comply with Al Rabiah’s Release Order unless and until they are forced to do so by the Court,” the attorneys wrote in an accompanying memorandum. “In defiance of the Release Order, Respondents have failed to take any steps to facilitate Al Rabiah’s release and have no justification for this failure.”
The attorneys note in the court documents that the Government of Kuwait has repeatedly requested Al Rabiah’s prompt repatriation. “Al Rabiah could and should have been returned to Kuwait at the same time, and on the same aircraft, as Petitioner Khalid Al Mutairi, who was finally returned to Kuwait on October 8, 2009,” they wrote.
Fouad Al Rabiah has been held at Guantanamo for nearly eight years, during which he was subjected to abusive and coercive interrogation methods. His attorneys and the Government of Kuwait for years sought for him a hearing before an impartial judge independent of the U.S. Administration to ensure due process. That hearing finally took place on August 26, 2009, and on September 17, 2009, the court ordered his release.
Al Rabiah, 50, has an established history of international relief work. In October 2001, he was in Afghanistan coordinating delivery of more than 30 trucks of aid supplies from Meshad, Iran, to refugees on the Afghani-Iranian border and to hospitals in Kandahar. Since 1981, Al Rabiah has been a manager for Kuwait Airways and a father of four children.
Al Rabiah is the second Kuwaiti detainee to be ordered released following last year’s historic Supreme Court ruling that granted fair hearings to the detainees. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on July 29, 2009, ordered the release of Kuwaiti detainee Khaled Al Mutairi who was returned to the Government of Kuwait on October 8, 2009.
About the Kuwaiti Family Committee:
The Kuwaiti Family Committee’s mission is to seek justice for the remaining Kuwaiti detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The organization is led by Khalid Al Odah, the father of Guantanamo detainee Fawzi Al Odah, and includes in its membership approximately 100 relatives of the prisoners. They are only asking for due process of law for their fathers, brothers, and sons, including speedy proceedings either to release them or to charge and try them in a fair process.
I am a civil rights/human rights lawyer in Chicago who is representing one Guantánamo detainee pro bono, Saeed Bakhouche. My second client Abdul Hamid al-Ghizzawi was finally released in 2010. Having represented these two men for so many years and with no end in sight I shut down my civil rights practice to focus solely on getting my two clients out of Guantanamo, closing Guantanamo and bringing those responsible for and assisting with these particular war crimes to justice. This weblog will provide updates on developments concerning the plight of the detainees, the ongoing injustice of current U.S. detention policies in the "War on Terror" and efforts to hold accountable those men and women responsible for the war crimes.
Much of 2008-2009 I lived in The Hague, Netherlands where I was a visiting professional at the International Criminal Court. As A result of that experience I hope to focus on the rights of victims before the International Court when my remaining client is eventually freed. I will not forget my duty to do all I can to bring the Bush and Obama administration war criminals to justice.