Ann Arbor attorney says he believes lawsuit helped free Guantanamo detainee he never met and UM student assists
ANN ARBOR, MI (AP): A lawyer who brought a lawsuit on behalf of a Saudi prisoner at Guantanamo Bay whom he never met—and spoke with only once—says the filing may be why U.S. authorities freed his client after three years.
In March, Doug Mullkoff sued President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and military officers in an effort to win freedom for Majid Radhi Al Toume Al Shamri, 32.
“I cannot say unequivocally that he was released because of my lawsuit, because no judge reached a decision on it,” Mullkoff told The Ann Arbor News for a recent story. “But the lawsuit could have played a part in the government's decision to release him.
“My feeling is that it's more than likely that he would be released since the government had a weak case for holding him.''
On Nov. 5, authorities released Al Shamri, and on Nov. 27, the charges against him were dismissed in U.S. District Court in Washington.
The United States holds about 500 prisoners in Guantanamo. They are accused of links to the al-Qaida terror network or Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime. The U.S. says they are enemy combatants, not prisoners of war, and are not entitled to the same rights afforded prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
The military has said that it does not discuss details about individual detainees.
Mullkoff volunteered to take the case through the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New-York based advocacy group. He said he took the case because he was ``incensed at the government's trampling on the rule of law. They ignored the law and ran roughshod over it.''
He got help from a University of Michigan student who translated Arabic documents for him. The student also translated Mullkoff’s one phone conversation with Al Shamri.
Mullkoff went to a secured facility in Virginia to read the government’s classified evidence against Al Shamri.
Mullkoff said Al Shamri was a former Kuwaiti soldier who fought alongside U.S.-Americans in the 1991 Gulf War and was never a part of al-Qaida.