Abd Al Rahim Abdul Rassak
A US federal judge has ordered a Guantanamo detainee who was reportedly tortured, imprisoned and abandoned by al Qaeda and the Taliban released.
The US government had argued that even though Abd Al Rahim Abdul Rassak was tortured by al Qaeda as a suspected Western spy, held by the Taliban for a year and a half and then abandoned, he was still allied with his tormentors.
US District Court Judge Richard Leon, however, rejected the prosecutor's claims in his ruling, which even included punctuation marks as an extra guarantee.
"I disagree… [US officials are] taking a position that defies common sense," wrote the judge in a 13-page written decision.
The judge said the government initially appeared to mistake Rassak as a suicide bomber based on videos captured at an al Qaeda safe house.
Later on, however, it was clear that the suspect had been tortured by al Qaeda.
In his verdict, the judge harshly attacked the notion that Rassak could be part of the same organization that had abused him.
"There is no evidence -- from either side -- as to why he suddenly was suspected by al Qaeda leaders of spying and was tortured for months into giving a false confession," Judge Leon wrote.
"It is highly unlikely that by that point in time al-Qaida (or the Taliban) had any trust or confidence in him. Surely extreme treatment of that nature evinces a total evisceration of whatever relationship might have existed!"
The Syrian detainee told US interrogators that he had stayed at a guesthouse used by Taliban and al Qaeda fighters for several days in 2000, where he had helped clean weapons. He also said that he had briefly attended a terror training camp.
"[Rassak] was conscripted by the Taliban who then turned on him after three weeks and subjected him to barbaric torture. He was imprisoned by the United States when he tried to provide information to us about his torturers," one of his lawyers, Steven Wax said.
"[The ruling] is yet another reminder that there are innocent men in Guantanamo," he added.
The US Justice Department has announced that it is reviewing the judge's ruling.