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Barre v. Obama

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Synopsis

Mohammed Sulaymon Barre is a Somali citizen who was imprisoned in Guantánamo for nearly eight years. He held official refugee status granted by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and lived and worked freely as a refugee in Pakistan for years prior to his detention.  In November 2001, soon after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistani authorities kidnapped him in the middle of the night from the home where le lived with his wife.  He is believed to have been sold to the United States for a bounty at a time when the United States was offering sizable sums for the handover of purported enemies.  He was held at Guantánamo until December 20, 2009, when he was returned to his family in Somaliland, the self-declared independent republic that is stable in an otherwise volatile Somalia.  He was never charged with a crime.  CCR filed both a habeas petition and petition under the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) challenging the legality of Mr. Barre’s detention.

Status

On December 20, 2009, Mr. Barre was released from Guantánamo and returned to his family in Somaliland.  Mr. Barre’s habeas case was dismissed as moot post-transfer, and he appealed. His appeal is pending in the D.C. Circuit. 

Description

Mohammed Sulaymon Barre is a Somali citizen who fled Somalia during the civil war in the early 1990s. UNHCR granted him refugee status in Pakistan. In Pakistan, he found a job working for a large international money transfer company called Dahabshiil.  On November 1, 2001, the Pakistani authorities raided the home of Mr. Barre and arrested him in the middle of the night.  The Pakistani authorities told Mr. Barre that he was merely being investigated because his work phone number appeared on a list of calls made by members of a suspect charitable organization, Al Wafaa, and he would be released in the morning.  Instead, Pakistani officials kept Mr. Barre in their custody for four months.  Mr. Barre is believed to have been sold for a bounty to the United States at a time when the United States was offering thousands of dollars for the handover of suspected enemies, and was turned over to U.S. forces.  The extensive use of bounties was confirmed by then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, when he admitted in his autobiography that he received bounties in exchange for the transfer of many men to U.S. custody.  Once in the custody of U.S. forces, Mr. Barre was sent to the U.S. military base at Bagram, where he was abused him and coercively interrogated before his transfer to Guantánamo. 

On August 1, 2007, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a DTA petition on behalf of Mr. Barre in the D.C. Circuit.  At that time, Congress had passed legislation which prevented Guantánamo detainees from challenging their detention in the District Court through habeas corpus and offered only a very limited review of their detention though an appeal of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal’s (CSRT’s) decision regarding their “enemy combatant” designation under the DTA.  The petition challenged Mr. Barre’s designation as an enemy combatant and included the demand that the U.S. government provide access to critical information and allow CCR attorneys to visit their client.  His case represented the intersection of many key issues surrounding the fate of the Guantánamo detainees: faulty hearing processes, the danger faced by many who may be returned to torture in their home countries, and the complicated path their cases must follow through the courts.

On June 11, 2008, the Supreme Court issued an historic decision in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, affirming the constitutionally-protected right of non-citizens detained in Guantánamo Bay to challenge their detention through habeas corpus.  Less than two weeks later, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a habeas petition on behalf of Mr. Barre, challenging his unlawful detention without trial in Guantánamo since 2002.

Despite being granted international mandate refugee protection from UNHCR, Mr. Barre languished in Guantánamo Bay for nearly eight years.  He was the final remaining refugee in Guantánamo recognized by UNHCR.  On December 20, 2009, Mr. Barre was finally released from Guantánamo and reunited with his family in Somaliland.  He was never charged with a crime.

The Center for Constitutional Rights continues to pursue Mr. Barre’s habeas corpus petition post-transfer.

Timeline

On August 1, 2007, CCR attorneys filed a DTA petition on behalf of Mr. Barre.  The petition challenged his designation as an "enemy combatant" and included the demand that the U.S. government provide access to critical information and allow CCR attorneys to visit their client.

On June 26, 2008, days after the Supreme Court's Boumediene decision, CCR attorneys filed a habeas petition on behalf of Mr. Barre challenging his unlawful and indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay. Click here to view document.

On January 22, 2009, President Barack H. Obama signed an Executive Order to close Guantánamo Bay within one year.

On December 20, 2009, Mr. Barre was released from Guantánamo Bay and returned to his family in Somaliland.

On March 2, 2010, Mr. Barre filed a motion for a status conference to establish a process for resolving his habeas case on the merits post-transfer. Click here to view document.

On March 22, 2010, Mr. Barre explained that since his release from Guantánamo he has continued to suffer collateral consequences of his prior detention and designation as an “enemy combatant,” and that he should be permitted to litigate his habeas case to a decision on the merits in order to alleviate those burdens and clear his name. Click here to view document.

On March 25, 2010, the District Court transferred Mr. Barre’s habeas case to a coordinating judge. Click here to view document.

On April 19, 2010, the coordinating judge issued a minute order dismissing Mr. Barre’s habeas case as moot.

On April 30, 2010, the District Court entered a separate ruling dismissing Mr. Barre’s habeas case as moot. Click here to view document.

On June 15, 2010, Mr. Barre appealed the dismissal of his habeas case. Click here to view document.

On September 30, 2010, the D.C. Circuit consolidated Mr. Barre’s appeal with other detainee appeals from the dismissal of habeas cases post-transfer, and stayed Mr. Barre’s appeal pending resolution of the post-transfer appeal in the lead consolidated case Gul v. Obama. Click here to view document.

On July 22, 2011, the D.C. Circuit upheld dismissal of the habeas petition in Gul v. Obama post-transfer. Click here to view document.

On July 29, 2011, the D.C. Circuit ordered Mr. Barre and other Petitioners in the consolidated appeals to file motions to govern future proceedings by August 29, 2011. Click here to view document.