Barre v. Obama Historic Case

At a Glance

Current Status 

In December 2009, Mohammed Sulaymon Barre was released from Guantánamo.  An appeal of his habeas case was settled in November 2012, in exchange for written confirmation that the U.S. government does not consider him a terrorist.  His Detainee Treatment Act petition was dismissed, without prejudice, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush.

Date Filed: 

August 1, 2007

Case Description 

Mohammed Sulaymon Barre is a Somali citizen who fled Somalia during the civil war in the early 1990s. UNHCR granted him refugee status in Pakistan, where he lived and worked freely for years. In Pakistan, he worked for a large international money transfer company called Dahabshiil.  He was kidnapped by Pakistani authorities soon after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and later imprisoned in Guantánamo for nearly eight years. 

In the middle of the night, on November 1, 2001, the Pakistani authorities raided Mr. Barre’s home, where he lived with his wife, and arrested him.  The Pakistani authorities told Mr. Barre that he was merely being investigated because his work phone number appeared on a list of calls made by members of a suspect charitable organization, Al Wafaa, and he would be released in the morning.  Instead, Pakistani officials kept Mr. Barre in their custody for four months, then turned him over to U.S. forces.  Mr. Barre is believed to have been sold for a bounty to the United States at a time when the United States was offering thousands of dollars for the handover of suspected enemies.  The extensive use of bounties was confirmed by then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, when he admitted in his autobiography that he received bounties in exchange for the transfer of many men to U.S. custody.  Once in the custody of U.S. forces, Mr. Barre was sent to the U.S. military base at Bagram, where he was abused and coercively interrogated before being transferred to Guantánamo.

On August 1, 2007, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a petition in the D.C. Circuit under the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) on behalf of Mr. Barre.  At that time, Congress had passed legislation which prevented Guantánamo detainees from challenging their detention in the District Court through habeas corpus and offered only very limited review of their detention though an appeal of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal’s (CSRT’s) decision regarding their “enemy combatant” designation under the DTA.  The petition challenged Mr. Barre’s designation as an enemy combatant and demanded that the U.S. government provide access to critical information and allow CCR attorneys to visit their client. 

Mr. Barre’s case represented the intersection of many key issues surrounding the fate of the Guantánamo detainees: faulty hearing processes, detention based on or because of their citizenship, and the complicated path their cases must follow through the courts.  The case is part of CCR’s broader efforts to end indefinite detention without charge or trial, close Guantánamo, and ensure accountability for U.S. torture. 

On June 11, 2008, the Supreme Court issued an historic decision in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, affirming the constitutionally-protected right of non-citizens detained in Guantánamo Bay to challenge their detention through habeas corpus.  Less than two weeks later, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a habeas petition on behalf of Mr. Barre, challenging his unlawful detention without trial in Guantánamo since 2002.

Despite being granted international mandate refugee protection from UNHCR, Mr. Barre languished in Guantánamo Bay for nearly eight years.  He was the final remaining refugee in Guantánamo officially recognized by UNHCR.  On December 20, 2009, Mr. Barre was finally released from Guantánamo and reunited with his family in Somaliland, the self-declared independent republic that is stable in an otherwise volatile Somalia.  He was never charged with a crime.

Case Timeline

June 9, 2014

Government's factual return of Mr. Barre's petition is disclosed in redacted form

June 9, 2014

Government's factual return of Mr. Barre's petition is disclosed in redacted form

June 3, 2014

Mr. Barre's traverse of the government's factual return to his habeas petition is disclosed in redacted form

June 3, 2014

Mr. Barre's traverse of the government's factual return to his habeas petition is disclosed in redacted form

November 29, 2012

D.C. Circuit dismisses Mr. Barre's appeal without prejudice

November 29, 2012

D.C. Circuit dismisses Mr. Barre's appeal without prejudice

November 27, 2012

Mr. Barre voluntarily withdraws his appeal, without prejudice, in light of the parties' negotiated settlement

November 27, 2012

Mr. Barre voluntarily withdraws his appeal, without prejudice, in light of the parties' negotiated settlement

August 30, 2012

D.C. Circuit orders a briefing schedule for Mr. Barre's appeal

August 30, 2012

D.C. Circuit orders a briefing schedule for Mr. Barre's appeal

August 10, 2012

D.C. Circuit denies government motion for summary affirmance in Mr. Barre's appeal

August 10, 2012

D.C. Circuit denies government motion for summary affirmance in Mr. Barre's appeal

June 11, 2012

Mr. Barre lodges a sealed reply to Government opposition

June 11, 2012

Mr. Barre lodges a sealed reply to Government opposition

The sealed Reply is docketed June 18, 2012

June 7, 2012

Government opposes Mr. Barre's motion to govern

June 7, 2012

Government opposes Mr. Barre's motion to govern

Government files a sealed opposition to Mr. Barre's renewed motion to govern, released in redacted form on June 11, 2012

May 16, 2012

Mr. Barre files a renewed motion to govern and requests a remand to the District Court for consideration of Gul v. Obama

May 16, 2012

Mr. Barre files a renewed motion to govern and requests a remand to the District Court for consideration of Gul v. Obama

May 15, 2012

Government files renewed motion for summary affirmance

May 15, 2012

Government files renewed motion for summary affirmance

Government moves again for summary affirmance, citing denial of rehearing en banc and certiorari in Gul v. Obama

December 2, 2011

D.C. Circuit orders the consolidated appeals to remain in abeyance

December 2, 2011

D.C. Circuit orders the consolidated appeals to remain in abeyance

September 9, 2011

Government opposes Mr. Barre's motion to govern; Mr. Barre opposes Government's motion for summary affirmance

September 9, 2011

Government opposes Mr. Barre's motion to govern; Mr. Barre opposes Government's motion for summary affirmance

August 30, 2011

Mr. Barre files a motion to govern and request to continue to hold his appeal in abeyance pending further appellate review in Gul v. Obama

August 30, 2011

Mr. Barre files a motion to govern and request to continue to hold his appeal in abeyance pending further appellate review in Gul v. Obama

August 29, 2011

Government moves to summarily affirm District Court's dismissal of Mr. Barre's habeas petition under Gul v. Obama

August 29, 2011

Government moves to summarily affirm District Court's dismissal of Mr. Barre's habeas petition under Gul v. Obama

July 29, 2011

The D.C. Circuit orders Mr. Barre and other petitioners in the consolidated appeals to file motions to govern future proceedings by August 29, 2011

July 29, 2011

The D.C. Circuit orders Mr. Barre and other petitioners in the consolidated appeals to file motions to govern future proceedings by August 29, 2011

July 22, 2011

D.C. Circuit upholds dismissal of the  post-transfer habeas petition in Gul v. Obama

July 22, 2011

D.C. Circuit upholds dismissal of the  post-transfer habeas petition in Gul v. Obama

September 30, 2010

Mr. Barre's appeal is consolidated and stayed

September 30, 2010

Mr. Barre's appeal is consolidated and stayed

The D.C. Circuit consolidates Mr. Barre’s appeal with other detainee appeals from the dismissal of habeas cases post-transfer.  It also stays Mr. Barre’s appeal pending resolution of the appeal in the lead consolidated case, Gul v. Obama.

June 15, 2010

Mr. Barre appeals the dismissal of his habeas case

June 15, 2010

Mr. Barre appeals the dismissal of his habeas case

April 30, 2010

District Court enters a judgment dismissing the habeas case as moot

April 30, 2010

District Court enters a judgment dismissing the habeas case as moot

April 19, 2010

Coordinating judge issues a minute order dismissing the habeas case as moot

April 19, 2010

Coordinating judge issues a minute order dismissing the habeas case as moot

March 25, 2010

District Court transfers the habeas case to a coordinating judge

March 25, 2010

District Court transfers the habeas case to a coordinating judge

March 22, 2010

CCR replies to goverment's opposition to motion for status conference and opposes government motion to transer or stay

March 22, 2010

CCR replies to goverment's opposition to motion for status conference and opposes government motion to transer or stay

In CCR's filing, Mr. Barre explains that, since his release from Guantánamo, he has continued to suffer collateral consequences of his detention and designation as an “enemy combatant” and argues that he should be permitted to litigate his habeas case to a decision on the merits in order to alleviate those burdens and clear his name.

March 15, 2010

Government opposes Mr. Barre's request for a status conference and cross-moves to transfer or stay the case

March 15, 2010

Government opposes Mr. Barre's request for a status conference and cross-moves to transfer or stay the case

March 2, 2010

CCR files a motion for a status conference to establish a process for resolving Mr. Barre's habeas case on the merits post-transfer

March 2, 2010

CCR files a motion for a status conference to establish a process for resolving Mr. Barre's habeas case on the merits post-transfer

December 20, 2009

Mr. Barre is released from Guantánamo and returned to his family in Somaliland

December 20, 2009

Mr. Barre is released from Guantánamo and returned to his family in Somaliland

July 31, 2009

Mr. Barre files a traverse of the government's factal return to his habeas peitition, under seal

July 31, 2009

Mr. Barre files a traverse of the government's factal return to his habeas peitition, under seal

March 26, 2009

DTA petition dismissed

March 26, 2009

DTA petition dismissed

Mr. Barre's DTA petition is dismissed without prejudice.

December 30, 2008

Goverment files factual return, under seal, in response to Mr. Barre's habeas petition

December 30, 2008

Goverment files factual return, under seal, in response to Mr. Barre's habeas petition

June 26, 2008

CCR files a habeas petition on behalf of Mr. Barre

June 26, 2008

CCR files a habeas petition on behalf of Mr. Barre

The habeas petition is filed days after the Supreme Court's Boumediene decision and challenges Mr. Barre's unlawful and indefinite detention in Guantánamo.

August 1, 2007

CCR files a DTA petition on behalf of Mr. Barre

August 1, 2007

CCR files a DTA petition on behalf of Mr. Barre

The petition challenges Mr. Barre's designation as an "enemy combatant" and demands the U.S. government provide access to critical information and allow CCR attorneys to visit their client.