Ameziane v. Obama / Ameziane v. United States

At a Glance

Current Status 

On December 5, 2013, the U.S. transferred Mr. Ameziane from Guantanamo to Algeria against his will despite his well-founded fear of persecution in his home country, and without giving him the opportunity to have the court evaluate his fear of return. Mr. Ameziane’s forced transfer to Algeria violates international law, including the Convention Against Torture.  The district court dismissed Mr. Ameziane’s habeas petition as moot in July 2014. His human rights case is pending before the IACHR.

 

Date Filed: 

February 24, 2005

Co-Counsel 

Charles Abbott, Andrew Brouwer, Jennifer Ashcroft, Francisco Quitana, Sophie Weller

Client 

Djamel Ameziane

Case Description 

Even though U.S. government never charged the Algerian-born college graduate, artist and chef, Djamel Ameziane, with engaging in hostilities, terrorism, or any acts of violence – eventually conceding there was, in fact, no “military rationale” for his continued detention – he was nonetheless imprisoned for nearly 12 years at Guantanamo.  Ameziane v. Obama is a habeas corpus petition that was filed in 2002 on behalf of Djamel Ameziane, challenging his unlawful detention at Guantanamo. Respondents in the case include the President, the Secretary of Defense, and military commanders of the Joint Task Force – Guantanamo. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) took over the case at Mr. Ameziane’s request in 2006. In 2008, CCR filed Ameziane v. United States before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a petition to consider the torture, abuse and other human rights violations petpetrated against Mr. Ameziane at Guantanamo. The IACHR case also included a request for precautionary measures requiring the United States to honor its non-refoulement obligations and cease all mistreatment of Mr. Ameziane. The IACHR promptly issued precautionary measures as requested, and later reiterated them.

In the early 1990s Djamel fled Algeria for Austria to escape escalating violence and instability in his home country. A refugee, he lived and worked legally as a chef in a high-class restaurant in Vienna. Following the 1995 election of a new government in Austria, Djamel’s visa and work permit were not renewed and he was forced to leave the country. He then traveled to Canada where he sought asylum, but after five years his application was denied and he was forced to uproot again. With dwindling options, Djamel went to Afghanistan. He never participated in any military training or fighting, but soon after war broke out he was abducted by local police crossing the border to Pakistan in an attempt to escape the escalating violence. From there he was sold to U.S. forces for bounty and sent to Guantanamo where he suffered immensely from abuse and solitary confinement.

Djamel’s story is a notorious example of the thousands of people the United States government has illegally detained, enabled by the so-called war on terror. CCR has been on the front lines of this human rights battle since Guantanamo prison opened its doors on January 11, 2002, filing countless cases on behalf of those denied due process. At CCR we believe we all become less safe and less free when we trample on the rights of others.

Case Timeline

July 21, 2014
Court denies Ameziane’s motion for relief and grants the Government’s motion to dismiss, and dismissing the case
July 21, 2014
Court denies Ameziane’s motion for relief and grants the Government’s motion to dismiss, and dismissing the case
June 4, 2014
Government files a reply in support to its motion to dismiss
June 4, 2014
Government files a reply in support to its motion to dismiss
May 9, 2014
Ameziane files a reply in support of his motion to compel the government to return his personal property, as well as an opposition to the cross-motion to dismiss
May 9, 2014
Ameziane files a reply in support of his motion to compel the government to return his personal property, as well as an opposition to the cross-motion to dismiss
April 11, 2014
Government files opposition to Ameziane’s motion and a cross-motion to dismiss
April 11, 2014
Government files opposition to Ameziane’s motion and a cross-motion to dismiss
March 7, 2014
Ameziane files a motion to compel the government to return his personal property seized at the time of his capture
March 7, 2014
Ameziane files a motion to compel the government to return his personal property seized at the time of his capture
Ameziane argues that the government’s refusal to return his money violates U.S. and international law, and has caused Ameziane substantial harm.
December 5, 2013
Ameziane is forcibly repatriated to Algeria
December 5, 2013
Ameziane is forcibly repatriated to Algeria
November 28, 2013
Redacted versions of Ameziane's motion for release and reply thereto are disclosed in redacted form
November 28, 2013
Redacted versions of Ameziane's motion for release and reply thereto are disclosed in redacted form
November 22, 2013
Court denies Ameziane's motion to unseal
November 22, 2013
Court denies Ameziane's motion to unseal
November 20, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed reply
November 20, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed reply
November 19, 2013
Government files a sealed response
November 19, 2013
Government files a sealed response
November 13, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed motion to unseal the government’s November 4, 2013 notice, and for expedited briefing.
November 13, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed motion to unseal the government’s November 4, 2013 notice, and for expedited briefing.
November 6, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed response to the notice
November 6, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed response to the notice
November 4, 2013
Government files a sealed notice in Ameziane's habeas case
November 4, 2013
Government files a sealed notice in Ameziane's habeas case
October 2, 2013
Court grants the motion to delay, vacating the hearing date, and stating that it would "proceed to decide the motion for release expeditiously."
October 2, 2013
Court grants the motion to delay, vacating the hearing date, and stating that it would "proceed to decide the motion for release expeditiously."
October 1, 2013
Government files a motion to delay motion hearing indefinitely due to the government shutdown, which Ameziane opposes the same day
October 1, 2013
Government files a motion to delay motion hearing indefinitely due to the government shutdown, which Ameziane opposes the same day
August 14, 2013
Court orders full briefing on the motion for release and schedules oral argument on the motion for October 7, 2013
August 14, 2013
Court orders full briefing on the motion for release and schedules oral argument on the motion for October 7, 2013
August 12, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed motion for an order of release and other relief in response to the government's status report regarding efforts to transfer him
August 12, 2013
Ameziane files a sealed motion for an order of release and other relief in response to the government's status report regarding efforts to transfer him
July 29, 2013
Court grants the motion and schedules a hearing for August 14, 2013
July 29, 2013
Court grants the motion and schedules a hearing for August 14, 2013
The court also orders the government to file a status report explaining "its efforts to transfer Mr. Ameziane over the past four years, what it expects will happen in the near future regarding his release from Guantanamo, and its efforts to identify and return legal materials to Mr. Ameziane." The government subsequently filed two status reports on August 8, 2013, including a public status report regarding the legal mail issues and a sealed status report regarding the transfer issues
July 26, 2013
Ameziane files a motion for a status conference
July 26, 2013
Ameziane files a motion for a status conference

The purpose of the status conference is to address the seizure by Joint Task Force Guantánamo of all the legal and non-legal materials in his possession, and their apparent comingling with more than 100 bins of other detainee papers. These documents, seized during a raid on Camp 6 at Guantánamo on April 13, 2013, included several years' worth of privileged and confidential attorney-client communications as well as family photos and other personal items.

October 5, 2012
D.C. Circuit grants government motion to unseal
October 5, 2012
D.C. Circuit grants government motion to unseal
D.C. Circuit order results in public disclosure of several records in Ameziane’s case, including: Government’s Opening Brief, Ameziane’s Opening Brief, Government’s Reply Brief, D.C. Circuit Opinion, Ameziane’s Petition for Rehearing and Suggestion for Rehearing En Banc, and Appendix.
September 21, 2012
Government moves to unseal the D.C. Circuit’s opinion and all other appellate records in Ameziane’s case
September 21, 2012
Government moves to unseal the D.C. Circuit’s opinion and all other appellate records in Ameziane’s case
March 20, 2012
IACHR issues a landmark admissibility report in Ameziane's case
March 20, 2012
IACHR issues a landmark admissibility report in Ameziane's case
This decision marks the first time the IACHR has accepted jurisdiction over the merits petition of a man detained at Guantánamo, and underscores the fact that there has been no effective domestic remedy available to victims of unjust detentions and other abuses at the base. The IACHR also states that it intends to gather more information on the substantive human rights law violations suffered by Ameziane, including the harsh conditions of confinement he has endured, the abuses inflicted on him, and the illegality of his detention.
October 29, 2010
IACHR holds a hearing regarding Ameziane's petition
October 29, 2010
IACHR holds a hearing regarding Ameziane's petition
CCR and CEJIL provides testimony to the Commissioners about the lack of effective remedies available in U.S. courts, Ameziane's continuing need to be protected from forcible transfer to Algeria, and his plea for resettlement in a safe third country.
October 29, 2010
IACHR held a hearing regarding Ameziane's case
October 29, 2010
IACHR held a hearing regarding Ameziane's case
CCR counsel for Ameziane provides testimony to the Commissioners about the lack of effective remedies available in U.S. courts, Mr. Ameziane's continuing need to be protected from forcible transfer to Algeria and his plea for resettlement in a safe third country.
March 29, 2010
Ameziane files sealed response on behalf of the six petitioners
March 29, 2010
Ameziane files sealed response on behalf of the six petitioners
March 24, 2010
Government files a sealed notice of supplemental authority in the six habeas cases
March 24, 2010
Government files a sealed notice of supplemental authority in the six habeas cases
March 24, 2010
Government files a sealed notice of supplemental authority in the six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
March 24, 2010
Government files a sealed notice of supplemental authority in the six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
March 17, 2010
Ameziane and other petitioners in the six habeas cases file sealed reply in further support of their emergency motion for reconsideration or, alternatively, for a stay pending appeal
March 17, 2010
Ameziane and other petitioners in the six habeas cases file sealed reply in further support of their emergency motion for reconsideration or, alternatively, for a stay pending appeal
March 15, 2010
Government opposes emergency motion for reconsideration
March 15, 2010
Government opposes emergency motion for reconsideration
February 27, 2010
Ameziane and other petitioners in the six habeas cases file a sealed emergency motion for reconsideration or, alternatively, for a stay pending appeal
February 27, 2010
Ameziane and other petitioners in the six habeas cases file a sealed emergency motion for reconsideration or, alternatively, for a stay pending appeal
February 4, 2010
Court issues sealed orders in six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
February 4, 2010
Court issues sealed orders in six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, acting as coordinating judge, issues sealed orders in six habeas cases on February 4 and March 10.
January 8, 2010
D.C. Circuit issues a sealed opinion reversing the District Court's June 30, 2009 sealed order
January 8, 2010
D.C. Circuit issues a sealed opinion reversing the District Court's June 30, 2009 sealed order
September 17, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed response to the government’s notice of supplemental authority on behalf of the petitioners in the six habeas cases
September 17, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed response to the government’s notice of supplemental authority on behalf of the petitioners in the six habeas cases
September 10, 2009
Government files a sealed notice of supplemental authority in the six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
September 10, 2009
Government files a sealed notice of supplemental authority in the six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
August 14, 2009
Government files a reply memorandum in support of seal motion in six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
August 14, 2009
Government files a reply memorandum in support of seal motion in six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
July 31, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed response to the July 20, 2009 sealed order on behalf of the petitioners in the six habeas cases
July 31, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed response to the July 20, 2009 sealed order on behalf of the petitioners in the six habeas cases
July 20, 2009
Distrcit Court issues a sealed order in six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
July 20, 2009
Distrcit Court issues a sealed order in six habeas cases, including Ameziane’s
July 16, 2009
Court of Appeals grants government's motion to stay June 30, 2009 order pending appeal
July 16, 2009
Court of Appeals grants government's motion to stay June 30, 2009 order pending appeal
July 10, 2009
Government files a sealed motion in six habeas cases, including Ameziane's
July 10, 2009
Government files a sealed motion in six habeas cases, including Ameziane's
July 7, 2009
Government appeals order and seeks an emergency stay pending appeal
July 7, 2009
Government appeals order and seeks an emergency stay pending appeal
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issues an administrative stay on the same day.
June 30, 2009
Court enters a sealed order
June 30, 2009
Court enters a sealed order
May 27, 2009
Court stays Ameziane's habeas case indefinitely
May 27, 2009
Court stays Ameziane's habeas case indefinitely
Also as reflected on the public docket, the parties thereafter filed a series of sealed pleadings, and the court issues a series of sealed orders.
April 30, 2009
Court denies Ameziane's motion for summary judgment, and orders the parties to proceed to discovery and an evidentiary hearing on the merits.
April 30, 2009
Court denies Ameziane's motion for summary judgment, and orders the parties to proceed to discovery and an evidentiary hearing on the merits.
April 1, 2009
Ameziane files his closing brief in support of his summary judgment motion
April 1, 2009
Ameziane files his closing brief in support of his summary judgment motion
March 24, 2009
Ameziane files response to the government's memo re: detention authority
March 24, 2009
Ameziane files response to the government's memo re: detention authority
March 24, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed response
March 24, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed response
March 13, 2009
Government files a memorandum regarding its detention authority
March 13, 2009
Government files a memorandum regarding its detention authority
March 13, 2009
Court orders closing briefing and argument
March 13, 2009
Court orders closing briefing and argument
March 6, 2009
Court issues a classified discovery order
March 6, 2009
Court issues a classified discovery order
Order is publicly disclosed on March 13, 2009 in redacted form.
March 3, 2009
Ameziane files a reply in further support of his summary judgment motion
March 3, 2009
Ameziane files a reply in further support of his summary judgment motion
February 27, 2009
Government files its opposition to Ameziane's summary judgment motion and moves to amend its statement of material facts
February 27, 2009
Government files its opposition to Ameziane's summary judgment motion and moves to amend its statement of material facts
February 24, 2009
Court rejects the government's attempt to avoid summary judgment proceedings but permits the government to amend its statement of material facts
February 24, 2009
Court rejects the government's attempt to avoid summary judgment proceedings but permits the government to amend its statement of material facts
February 20, 2009
Government files a public notice withdrawing reliance on two documents as a basis for Ameziane’s detention, and files a pleading attempting to avoid summary judgment proceedings
February 20, 2009
Government files a public notice withdrawing reliance on two documents as a basis for Ameziane’s detention, and files a pleading attempting to avoid summary judgment proceedings
February 13, 2009
Ameziane files a preliminary traverse and motion for summary judgment
February 13, 2009
Ameziane files a preliminary traverse and motion for summary judgment
February 6, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed motion to exclude evidence
February 6, 2009
Ameziane files a sealed motion to exclude evidence
January 2, 2009
Court denies the government's motion to stay Ameziane's habeas case
January 2, 2009
Court denies the government's motion to stay Ameziane's habeas case
December 19, 2008
Court enters an amended order regarding production of exculpatory evidence and other discovery
December 19, 2008
Court enters an amended order regarding production of exculpatory evidence and other discovery
The court also schedules motion for summary judgment proceedings.
December 19, 2008
Ameziane files a sealed opposition to motion to stay and, alternatively, a cross-motion for parole
December 19, 2008
Ameziane files a sealed opposition to motion to stay and, alternatively, a cross-motion for parole
December 17, 2008
Government files a sealed motion to stay Ameziane's case
December 17, 2008
Government files a sealed motion to stay Ameziane's case
December 2, 2008
Court orders the government to produce exculpatory evidence
December 2, 2008
Court orders the government to produce exculpatory evidence
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, the merits judge assigned to Ameziane's habeas case, orders the government to produce exculpatory evidence, and directs the parties to engage in other discovery.
November 7, 2008
Court grants the government's motion to amend the factual return to Ameziane's habeas petition over his objection
November 7, 2008
Court grants the government's motion to amend the factual return to Ameziane's habeas petition over his objection
August 20, 2008
IACHR issues Urgent Precautionary Measures
August 20, 2008
IACHR issues Urgent Precautionary Measures
The Precautionary Measures require that all necessary measures be taken to ensure that Ameziane is not transferred or removed to a country where he would likely face torture or other persecution.
August 6, 2008
Ameziane files a Petition and Request for Precautionary Measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
August 6, 2008
Ameziane files a Petition and Request for Precautionary Measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
CCR and co-counsel at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) ask the IACHR to consider the torture, abuse, and other human rights violations perpetrated against Ameziane, including his continuing indefinite detention without charge or trial.
July 29, 2008
Court orders that the stay be lifted in habeas case
July 29, 2008
Court orders that the stay be lifted in habeas case
Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, acting as coordinating judge for most detainee cases, orders that the stay be lifted in Ameziane's habeas case, and most other habeas cases filed by detainees at Guantánamo Bay.
June 13, 2008
Ameziane files a motion to lift the stay of his habeas case and schedule an immediate status conference
June 13, 2008
Ameziane files a motion to lift the stay of his habeas case and schedule an immediate status conference

The motion is filed following the Supreme Court ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that detainees at Guantánamo Bay have the constitutionally protected right to petition for habeas corpus relief.

January 3, 2008
Court stays Ameziane's habeas case
January 3, 2008
Court stays Ameziane's habeas case
July 5, 2007

Court denies without prejudice the government''s motion to dismiss pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush

July 5, 2007

Court denies without prejudice the government''s motion to dismiss pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush

May 3, 2007
Ameziane opposes the government's motion to dismiss
May 3, 2007
Ameziane opposes the government's motion to dismiss
April 19, 2007
Government files a motion to dismiss Ameziane's habeas case
April 19, 2007
Government files a motion to dismiss Ameziane's habeas case
February 24, 2005

Ameziane files a habeas corpus petition, Ameziane v. Bush (since renamed Ameziane v. Obama) in U.S. District Court. in Washington, DC

February 24, 2005

Ameziane files a habeas corpus petition, Ameziane v. Bush (since renamed Ameziane v. Obama) in U.S. District Court. in Washington, DC