Two Guantanamo Bay detainees, including a Yemeni man accused of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, were correctly labeled as enemy combatants and are being held lawfully at the U.S. prison in Cuba, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
It was the latest ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who last month ordered five Algerians freed from the naval prison because the evidence against them was flimsy. That ruling led to the first court-ordered prison transfer from Guantanamo Bay.
In Tuesday's ruling, Leon said Moath Hamza Amhed Al Alwi of Tunisia and Hisham Sliti of Yemen were being held lawfully. Both men were captured in Afghanistan, where prosecutors say they stayed with al-Qaida supporters.
New administration will inherit cases
The cases are among those that President-elect Barack Obama's administration will soon inherit. Obama has said he wants to close Guantanamo Bay. His incoming administration is working on a plan in which some detainees would be released and others would be charged in U.S. courts.
Al Alwi is accused of training with al-Qaida and serving as a bodyguard for bin Laden. Lawyers for both men deny their clients did anything wrong.
There is no evidence in the court ruling that either man took up arms against U.S. forces. However, Leon, who reviewed both classified and unclassified evidence against the men, said there was more than enough evidence to hold the men as al-Qaida and Taliban supporters.
U.S. officials say extremists paid for Sliti's trip to Afghanistan, where he stayed in a guesthouse with a senior al-Qaida leader. Sliti knew the location of a military training camp, as well as the code words being used by those training there, officials said. When Sliti was captured, Pakistani officials found an address book containing the names of known extremists.
Sliti's "story about traveling to Afghanistan to kick a long-standing drug habit and find a wife is not credible," Leon said.