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Reply Brief available for Alsabri v. Obama

Raffaela Wakeman
Thursday, September 15, 2011, 11:11 PM
The briefing in Alsabri v.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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The briefing in Alsabri v. Obama, a Guantanamo habeas appeal, is now complete. Mashour Abudllah Muqbel Alsabri is appealing Judge Ricardo Urbina's memorandum opinion. We earlier posted Alsabri's appeals brief (available here) and the government's brief (available here). In his reply brief, Alsabri takes issue with a number of the government's arguments. Alsabri summarizes his as follows:
Petitioner's opening brief demonstrated that the district court's ruling was rife with error. In response, the govemment makes little attempt to dispute these points. Instead, Respondents argue that these errors should be ignored. Respondents essentially ask this Court to view each error in isolation -ignoring each error's influence on the district court's other findings and ignoring the cumulative effect of these mistakes. However, it is evident from the court's decision that these errors played an important role in the court's assessment of Alsabri's conduct in Yemen, as well as his reasons for traveling to Afghanistan and his alleged conduct after he arrived there. Thus, for example, the court's mistaken belief that Petitioner did not dispute that he was listed on a "training roster" certainly influenced the court's finding that Alsabri obtained military training. Respondents' opposition also does little to justify the district court's failure to address evidence favorable to Petitioner. The district court's obligation to view the evidence "as a whole" certainly encompassed a requirement to consider exculpatory evidence, as well as interrogation reports that were inconsistent with the reports relied upon by the court. The record does not support the district court's finding that Alsabri is properly subject to detention under the AUMF. The uncontested evidence presented in this case demonstrates that guesthouse presence and military training in Afghanistan does not establish that a detainee was part of al-Qaida or the Taliban. In addition, Alsabri cannot properly be detained simply by virtue of his short visit, months before the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, to the area where Taliban forces were position against the Northern Alliance. The district court's finding to the contrary was infected by factual error and based on nothing more than speculation.
Oral arguments is scheduled for October 24th before Judges Douglas Ginsburg, Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanagh. We will post an oral argument preview and summary.

Raffaela Wakeman is a Senior Director at In-Q-Tel. She started her career at the Brookings Institution, where she spent five years conducting research on national security, election reform, and Congress. During this time she was also the Associate Editor of Lawfare. From there, Raffaela practiced law at the U.S. Department of Defense for four years, advising her clients on privacy and surveillance law, cybersecurity, and foreign liaison relationships. She departed DoD in 2019 to join the Majority Staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she oversaw the Intelligence Community’s science and technology portfolios, cybersecurity, and surveillance activities. She left HPSCI in May 2021 to join IQT. Raffaela received her BS and MS in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009 and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015, where she was recognized for her commitment to public service with the Joyce Chiang Memorial Award. While at the Department of Defense, she was the inaugural recipient of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s General Counsel Award for exhibiting the highest standards of leadership, professional conduct, and integrity.

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