Pentagon Doesn’t Hold Up Its End of the Bargain on Guantánamo Prisoner Release

Thursday, May 16, 2013
(photo: David P. Coleman, Department of Defense)

Attorneys representing Noor Uthman Muhammed, a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, have accused the Department of Defense of not abiding by a plea agreement that’s supposed to result in their client’s release from prison.


Under the terms of a deal struck in 2011, Noor should be freed in December. But the Pentagon official who oversees the tribunal system, known as the convening authority, still has not signed off on the agreement, even though it’s been two years since both sides okayed it.


Noor’s lawyers say that without the convening authority’s approval, the process of repatriating their client can’t move forward.


Noor pleaded guilty before a military commission to conspiracy and providing material support to terrorism. Under the terms of his plea, he had to serve an additional 34 months on top of the nine years he’s already been imprisoned as a wartime detainee.


“Noor has kept both the letter and spirit of his promises under the plea agreement, but the government has not,” his attorneys wrote in a court filing that seeks to force the Pentagon to finalize the agreement. “More than two years have passed since the written plea agreement was signed by the government, and yet the convening authority continues to delay in carrying out the procedural steps necessary to pave the way for Noor’s release and repatriation. As a matter of contract law and basic fairness, the plea agreement between Noor and the government should be enforced.”


Originally from Sudan, Noor traveled to Afghanistan in 1994, where he received paramilitary training at an al-Qaeda camp. He fled to Pakistan and stayed at a safe house linked to Abu Zubaydah, a suspected terrorist facilitator. Noor claimed he was not a member of al-Qaeda, and was never linked to any specific terrorist attack.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Lawyers Press Pentagon to Abide by Detainee Deal (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)

United States of America v. Noor Uthman Muhammed (Military Commissions Trial Judiciary, Guantánamo Bay)

The Prisoners of Guantánamo (by Tyler Cabot, Esquire)

Why are More Than Half of Guantánamo Prisoners now on Hunger Strike? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Prisoner Dies at Guantánamo 8 Years after he was Recommended for Release (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)       

Judge Orders Release of another Guantánamo Prisoner after Seven Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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