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Tracking Obama’s Struggles to Defend Gitmo Detentions

As federal judges continue to decide lawsuits brought by Guantanamo inmates to challenge their detentions, ProPublica is analyzing the cases and updating our database of essential facts and documents.

On July 29, a judge with considerable national security expertise eviscerated the government’s case against a Kuwaiti detainee held since November 2001 based on, she said, “nothing” but “speculation.” A day later a different judge ordered the government to “promptly release” Mohammed Jawad, a young Afghan detainee. The government had agreed to drop its defense of Jawad’s detention, which appeared to rest mostly on self-incriminating statements that a military judge at Guantanamo said had been obtained by Afghan officials under threat of death.

The decisions show how different judges are defining the standards for who may be detained indefinitely by the president in the conflict with al Qaeda and the Taliban. They also illustrate how strong the government’s evidence needs to be. Some 200 captives have filed lawsuits against the government, in the form of habeas corpus petitions. Out of 33 petitions decided so far, judges have found in favor of 28 detainees. Nineteen of those men continue to be held at Guantanamo.

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