A US federal judge has ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee imprisoned at the island facility for more than eight-and-a-half years.

In a previously secret ruling written in July and released today, US District Judge Henry Kennedy said the Obama administration failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the Yemeni man was part of al-Qaeda or an associated force.

The Government alleged that an al-Qaeda recruiter encouraged the man to go to Afghanistan to receive military training.  The detainee, Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, says he went to the region after being promised free medical care for head injuries suffered in a car accident in his home country.  “The evidence shows that Latif did have an injury that continued to affect him in 2001 and for which he might therefore have sought treatment,” wrote the judge.

The detainee “has presented a plausible alternative story to explain his travel,” the judge added.  Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the ruling, some of which was blacked out because of classified information, was under review.  The Justice Department could appeal the decision, could return the detainee to his home country or could try to find another country willing to accept him.

Latif was captured near the Afghan-Pakistani border in late 2001.

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