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Judge says US held Afghan man unlawfully at Guantanamo Bay

A United States judge has ruled the United States has no legal basis for holding an Afghan man at the notorious US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, setting the stage for his potential release, his lawyer told Al Jazeera.

Gul was held for 14 years at Guantanamo without charge and denied access to a lawyer for the first nine years of his detention, according to Reprieve, a US legal advocacy group. In 2016, his lawyers filed a petition in federal court in Washington, DC, arguing his detention was unlawful.

“The judge has ruled that his detention is illegal. And as with any other court order against the US government, there is a constitutional obligation to give affect to that order. And so, it should mean that he is immediately released,” Tara Plochocki, Gul’s lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

Importantly, prior to the judge’s ruling, a US military review board ruled on October 7 that it was safe to release Gul and his detention no was longer necessary, citing a “lack of leadership in extremist organizations” and “lack of clear ideological basis for his prior conduct”.

“The board’s recommendation is welcome, but we should remember Asadullah has spent more than 14 years of his life in prison without charge or trial,” Reprieve US lawyer Mark Maher said in a statement. “Asadullah missed his daughter’s entire childhood. He should be reunited with his family as soon as possible, but there is no way to restore what has been taken from them.” Read the full story on Al Jazeera.