updated 6/22/2009 5:13:37 PM ET 2009-06-22T21:13:37

A U.S. judge has ordered a detainee at Guantanamo Bay to be released, saying the man was a captive, not a follower, of the Taliban.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon disagreed with the government's claims against Abd Al Rahim Abdul Rassak. Leon said the Syrian man had spent 18 months in a Taliban prison after being tortured by al-Qaida.

Prosecutors had argued that Rassak had a pre-existing relationship with al-Qaida that was still in effect even after it had abused and imprisoned him.

In a written ruling Monday, Leon criticized U.S. officials for taking what he called "a position that defies common sense." He ordered the government to take all diplomatic steps necessary to release Rassak, who now goes by the name Janko.

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