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Guant�namo Bay detainee Abu Muhammed wants to be free. But Muhammed, who is no longer considered an enemy combatant, is afraid that the government will send him back to his native Algeria, from which he fled in 1989. This was the concern his attorneys, Danielle Voorhees and Scott Barker of Holland & Hart, raised with Judge Rosemary Collyer at a hearing Oct. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “If our client is released to Algeria, he faces very serious harm,” said Voorhees. Muhammed, who received U.N. refugee status in 1996 after relocating to Pakistan, is one of three who are no longer designated as enemy combatants but are still being held at the Navy base. Collyer seemed disturbed by Muhammed’s predicament and pushed Justice Department attorney Terry Henry to say the government would find another place to transfer him. “I’m still rattling around with why the government can’t say, ‘Wherever it will be, it won’t be Algeria,’ ” Collyer said. Though Henry said the United States won’t send anyone to a place it believes the person would be tortured or killed, he admitted that that restriction may not bar the government from releasing Muhammed to Algeria. Collyer ultimately concluded that she had no authority to interfere with the government’s decision. “ We kind of owe this fellow something, and sending him back to Algeria is not creating any equity,” Collyer said.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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