WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court refused to stop the Bush administration yesterday from transferring a Guantanamo Bay detainee to his home country of Libya.
Lawyers for the man argued that he faced torture at the hands of the Libyan government if sent there.
The detainee, Abu Abdul Rauf Zalita, says that he married an Afghan citizen and that after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, he and his pregnant wife fled to Pakistan, where he was handed over to U.S. authorities for a bounty.
The U.S. government classified him as an enemy combatant, saying Zalita was a member of a known terrorist organization and received weapons training from the group.
The Supreme Court denied his application for an injunction to prevent the transfer.
In opposing Zalita's request, the Justice Department said the Military Commissions Act of 2006 ended federal court jurisdiction over legal challenges by enemy combatants.
Zalita invoked the international convention against torture, but his request "ignores Congress' explicit mandate" that U.S. courts not consider challenges such as his, the U.S. Solicitor General's Office said.
The Libyan's effort to block his transfer came as 75 lawyers for nearly 400 detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, urged Congress yesterday to give the prisoners access to U.S. courts. The attorneys fanned out across Capitol Hill for private meetings with senators and House members.