Bismullah v. Gates

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Bismullah v. Gates is a writ of habeas corpus appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on behalf of Haji Bismullah[1],a suspected al-Qaeda or Taliban member, held in extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo detention camp as a . Federal court jurisdiction had already been established by Rasul v. Bush, which noted the special status of Guantanamo opposed to other detention facilities outside the United States.

On July 20, 2007, the court reached a decision in Bismullah v. Gates, also ruling in Parhat v. Gates.[2] The three judge panel ruled that defense attorneys for prisoners at Guantanamo should be allowed to review all the classified evidence in their client's dossier.[2]

The United States Department of Justice requested a rehearing en banc of this case on September 1, 2007.[3] Its request stated,

The record as defined by Bismullah is not simply a collection of papers sitting in a box at the Defense Department. It is a massive undertaking just to produce the record in this one case." Producing it by a court-ordered Sept. 13 deadline in Paracha "is not possible without potentially compromising the reliability of the production and without also fundamentally compromising the intelligence agencies' ability to redact sensitive national security material, as permitted by this Court's Bismullah decision.

Senior members of the US intelligence establishment went on record to support the Department of Justice's request for a re-hearing. Two of the five documents were classified. Michael V. Hayden, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, wrote "The breadth of discovery apparently required by the Court's decision will include information about virtually every weapon in the CIA's arsenal to combat the terrorist threat to the United States."[4]


  1. Also known as (a/k/a Haji Bismillah, Haji Besmella, and Haji Mohammad Wali)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bismullah v. Gates. United States Department of Justice (July 20 2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-18.
  3. Lyle Denniston. Government to seek Bismullah rehearing, Scotusblog, Saturday, September 1, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-18.
  4. Carol D. Leonnig. Intelligence Chiefs Back A Guantanamo Reversal, Washington Post, September 12, 2007, p. A05. Retrieved on 2007-09-18.