One of Guantánamo’s many horrors is just how long people have been held there in a cruel legal limbo. Huzaifa Parhat has been detained for six long years, despite his insistence that he was an innocent swept up in the chaos in Afghanistan. It is welcome news that a federal appeals court has now ruled — in the first decision of its kind — that Parhat was improperly labelled an “enemy combatant.”

We hope this means Parhat and the roughly 270 other detainees being held in Guantánamo will be given quick and fair opportunities to challenge their never-ending detention. After a hearing before a combatant status review tribunal — a kangaroo court that rules without a real hearing or reliable evidence — Parhat was designated an enemy combatant.

The US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit ruled the tribunal’s designation of Parhat invalid. It is a victory for the rights of detainees — and a rebuke to the lawless policies of the Bush administration. Parhat’s case is the latest in a long line of court rulings rejecting the Bush administration’s denial of the most basic human and constitutionally guaranteed rights to Guantánamo’s detainees. The administration must start obeying the law now, rather than waiting for yet another court to declare that it has trampled on far too many people’s rights.