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US appeals court overturns release of detainee

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By NEDRA PICKLER
June 11, 2011
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Yemeni detainee ordered to be freed from Guantánamo Bay has to stay now that a U.S. appeals court has overturned his release.

The U.S Court of Appeals in Washington says circumstantial evidence of terrorist ties can be enough to keep a prisoner like Hussain Salem Mohammad Almerfedi at the U.S. naval prison in Cuba.

Almerfedi was captured in Iran after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and eventually transferred to U.S. authorities through Afghanistan. Government attorneys argue he was staying at an al-Qaida-affiliated guesthouse, based on the testimony of another Guantánamo detainee. Almerfedi denied it, and a lower court judge found the testimony against him unreliable and ordered him released.

But the appeals court said the judge erred in finding the testimony unreliable and found it was likely Almerfedi was part of al-Qaida.