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Abu Zubaydah challenges detention

Abu Zubaydah, the Guantanamo Bay detainee who is at the center of the controversy over the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency videotapes of aggressive interrogation tactics, is asking the D.C. Circuit Court to review his continued detention at the U.S. military prison in Cuba.  Zubaydah, whose formal name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, was questioned extensively by U.S. agents at secret overseas locations but hundreds of hours of videotapes of those sessions have been destroyed by the CIA, reportedly in November 2005. That incident has stirred up a major controversy in the courts and Congress.

His petition for review under the Detainee Treatment Act — with an alternative request for a habeas writ to challenge his detention — was filed on Monday. The documents were cleared by a court security officer and released Wednesday. (The petition in Husayn v. Gates, Circuit docket 07-1520, can be downloaded here.  A separate declaration by attorney George Brent Mickum IV can be found here.)

Zubaydah is one of 14 so-called “high-value” terrorist suspects who were held at secret CIA sites overseas until transferred to Guantanamo in September 2006.  He was captured in Pakistan on March 28, 2002. According to his attorneys in one of the new filings in D.C. Circuit Court, after he was turned over to U.S. forces, Zubaydah “was subjected to various methods of torture, including waterboarding, by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

HIs attorneys say that Zubaydah “has been held virtually incommunicado in military custody for nearly six years.”  A military Combatant Status Review Tribunal on Dec. 11 ruled that he was an “enemy combatant” — a decision that his petition argues was invalid because it did not follow the standards and procedures set for CSRT proceedings.

Zubaydah has not yet filed a habeas challenge in U.S. District Court, but his attorneys noted in thier DTA petition that he reseves “his constitutional right” to pursue such relief.