Experts say the ruling is 'a clear warning shot to the government' over Gitmo detention policies.
The New York Times reports that in rendering his decision, Judge Richard Leon said Thursday the government's evidence, which he called "a classified document from an unnamed source," was insufficient to show the five detainees' link to Al Qaeda.
"To rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court's obligation," Judge Leon said. He urged the government not to appeal and said the men should be released "forthwith."
The habeas corpus case was an important test of the administration's detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with hardened fighters and terrorist commanders.
The judge also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda, arranging travel for others to fight the United States, and planned to become a fighter himself.
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