A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a Chinese Muslim held by the U.S. military was improperly labeled an “enemy combatant” by the Pentagon.

It’s the first time a Guantanamo Bay detainee has been given an opportunity in a civilian court to try to secure his release.

The decision throws into serious doubt the underlying reasons for keeping Hazaifa Parhat in custody for more than six years.

A brief one-page order from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington directed military officials to either “release or transfer Parhat, or to expeditiously hold a new [military] tribunal.”

The order came just 11 days after the Supreme Court ruled the approximately 270 detainees at Guantanamo have a basic constitutional right to challenge their detention in federal courts — another setback for the Bush administration’s anti-terror and war policies.

The justices moved quickly Monday to give federal judges further authority to hear an expected flood of appeals from accused terrorists and foreign fighters being held at the Guantanamo base in Cuba. (MORE)


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