Guantánamo Detainee Majid Khan Closer to Freedom with Approval of Final Sentence
On March 11, the Convening Authority for the Military Commissions ordered a sentence of 10 years for Jenner & Block client Majid Khan. Applying credit for time served from the date of his guilty plea on February 29, 2012, Mr. Khan's sentence ended on March 1, 2022.
For more than a decade, Co-Managing Partner Katya Jestin has worked with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Military Commissions Defense Organization to represent Mr. Khan pro bono.
“This is a historic day. Majid has fulfilled his cooperation obligations completely, and his sentence has been served. He must now be released from detention,” Ms. Jestin said in a statement. “Majid’s torture at the hands of the CIA in the name of national security was illegal and a shameful episode in our nation’s history.”
Mr. Khan abandoned involvement with terrorism more than a decade ago and has been providing substantial cooperation to US authorities since then. In response to the Convening Authority’s decision, Mr. Khan’s legal team, including Ms. Jestin, called for his transfer from Guantánamo “without delay.”
“We look forward to working with the Biden administration to ensure that Mr. Khan is promptly and safely resettled in a third country where he can be reunited with his wife and daughter and begin the next chapter of his life,” the team said in a statement.
Article Features Latest USS Cole Bombing DC Circuit Appeal
Courthouse News Service published an article about arguments in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia arising out of the trial of the alleged mastermind of the attack on the US Navy destroyer USS Cole.
A Jenner & Block team represents two civilian lawyers who resigned on ethical grounds from serving as trial counsel to the defendant, Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammad al-Nashiri, after discovering various intrusions into the attorney-client privilege, including finding surveillance equipment in a client meeting room.
In October 2017, the chief defense counsel for Military Commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Marine Corps General John Baker, excused Pentagon-paid civilian defense lawyers Mary Spears and Rosa Eliades as counsel for Mr. Nashiri. The military judge overseeing the case, Air Force Colonel Vance Spath, disagreed with that decision, eventually confining General Baker to quarters and ordering Ms. Spears and Ms. Eliades to continue to serve, threatening them with arrest. Judge Spath eventually abated the case to put it on an indefinite hold.
At issue in the arguments before the DC Circuit was General Baker’s authority to dismiss the civilian lawyers. The article quoted Partner Matthew S. Hellman addressing the military court rules that grant the general the right to excuse Ms. Spears and Ms. Eliades. “It couldn’t be much clearer,” said Mr. Hellman, who is a co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice.
In a related case argued during the same hearing, a defense attorney for Mr. Nashiri urged the DC Circuit to toss all of Judge Spath’s rulings, as the judge was seeking a position with the US Department of Justice as an immigration judge while issuing rulings in the military court case prosecuted by the DOJ. Quoted in the Courthouse News Service article, one of the justices overseeing the arguments remarked, “I just don’t see how this passes the smell test.”
The arguments marked the second time the case appeared in the DC Circuit. In May, Mr. Hellman and the firm argued to grant Ms. Spears and Ms. Eliades the right to intervene in US Court of Military Commission proceedings regarding their resignation from the case.
In addition to Mr. Hellman, the Jenner & Block team includes Partners Todd C. Toral—lead counsel for the civilian lawyers—Brandon D. Fox and Keisha N. Stanford and Associates Alice S. Kim and Eric Lamm. Partners Gabriel A. Fuentes and Luke C. Platzer are also providing support. Partners Adam G. Unikowsky and Ishan K. Bhabha and Associates Lauren J. Hartz, Andrew C. Noll and Tassity Johnson assisted with moot arguments. Cheryl Olson provided paralegal support, Tyler Edwards provided docketing support, and Beth Gulden provided administrative assistance.