Huzaifa Parhat, an ethnic Uighur, fled persecution in China, arriving at a Uighur camp in Afghanistan in June 2001. In October 2001, U.S. air strikes destroyed the camp, and Parhat crossed into Pakistan, where he was detained by Pakistani officials who turned him over to the U.S. military. In June 2002 he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. At a Combatant Status Review Tribunal held in July 2004, Parhat was determined to be an enemy combatant on the theory that he was affiliated with a Uighur independence group known as ETIM, which allegedly had associations with al Qaida and the Taliban. Parhat’s affiliation with ETIM was inferred from the fact that an ETIM leader ran the Uighur camp where Parhat lived and received pistol and rifle training. Parhat denied any association with al Qaida or the Taliban, and repeatedly stated that his only enemy was the government of China. He filed a petition seeking relief under the Detainee Treatment Act and, in the alternative, for a writ of habeas corpus.
As Parhat was not a member of al Qaida or the Taliban, the government had to prove three elements to designate him as an enemy combatant: (1) Parhat was part of or supporting ETIM; (2) ETIM was associated with al Qaida or the Taliban; and (3) ETIM is engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or coalition partners. However, as to the second and third elements, the government’s evidence did not disclose its source, making it insufficient to support the Tribunal’s determination, as it did not allow the Tribunal to assess its reliability. “[W]e neither prescribe nor proscribe possible ways in which the government may demonstrate the reliability of its evidence,” Garland wrote. “We merely reject the government’s contention that it can prevail by submitting documents that read as if they were indictments or civil complaints, and that simply assert as facts the elements required to prove that a detainee falls within the definition of enemy combatant. To do otherwise would require the courts to rubber-stamp the government’s charges, in contravention of our understanding that Congress intended the court to engage in meaningful review of the record.” Thus, the court directed the government to release Parhat, transfer him, or to expeditiously convene a new CSRT.