WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A federal judge ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prisoner from Yemen who was still in custody despite being recommended for release six years ago.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy, in a 28-page ruling made public this week, ordered that Adnan Abdul Latif be released, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
Latif, 34, is the 38th detainee a federal judge determined to be illegally detained at the U.S. military base.
Kennedy first ordered the Obama administration to arrange for Latif's release "forthwith" on July 21, but a Justice Department spokesman said government lawyers were still deciding as late as Tuesday night whether to appeal.
"Why they continue to defend holding him is unfathomable," said David Remes, Latif's attorney. "Adnan's case reflects the Obama administration's complete failure to bring the Guantanamo litigation under control."
The Pentagon recommended Latif's release as early as 2004 but it wasn't until 2007 that the administration of President George W. Bush included Latif on a transfer list, Kennedy's release order indicated. By then, the issue of transfers to Yemen was caught up in a standoff over whether the African nation could provide security assurances and rehabilitate detainees.
Latif, held at Guantanamo since January 2002, said he suffered a head injury in his teens and was in Pakistan and Afghanistan seeking Islamic charity medical care before his capture, the Herald said.
The U.S. Justice Department said Latif was seen at an al-Qaida facility and trained with the terror movement.
Kennedy's ruling said the Pentagon's military intelligence analysis found no eyewitness to back up the claim.