Gitmo Detainee Should Be Sent Home After Torture And Illegal Detention
Court Found Inadequate Case Against ACLU Client Mohammed Jawad
NEW YORK - Guantánamo
detainee Mohamed Jawad should be sent home to Afghanistan immediately,
according to an American Civil Liberties Union filing today on behalf
of Jawad, who has been illegally detained by the U.S. for almost seven
years. The Afghan government has indicated that it is prepared to
receive Jawad immediately and unconditionally, and that the
repatriation could be done without any cost to the U.S.
Despite having admitted that Jawad
was tortured and illegally imprisoned, the Obama administration last
week asked for permission to continue to hold him while it decides
whether to pursue a criminal case against him. The government's
request, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,
came after U.S. District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle had berated
government lawyers the previous week for their inadequate case against
Jawad. A copy of a transcript from that hearing can be found online at:
"Last term, the Supreme Court ruled
that Guantánamo detainees have a constitutional right to habeas corpus,
for centuries the greatest safeguard of individual liberty against
arbitrary and lawless government action," said Jonathan Hafetz, a staff
attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and lawyer for Jawad
in his habeas case. "If the government can ignore a federal court's
findings that it has no case against Mr. Jawad or reason to continue to
lawlessly detain him, it will render habeas corpus a dead-letter and
our courts powerless to remedy injustice."
Last fall, a military judge in
Jawad's Guantánamo military commission proceeding threw out the bulk of
the evidence against him finding that it was obtained through torture.
Despite that ruling, the Obama administration continued to rely on
those same statements in Jawad's habeas corpus challenge before Judge
Huvelle until last week when it said it would no longer rely on that
evidence. The Afghan Attorney General recently sent a letter to the
U.S. government demanding Jawad's return and suggesting he was as young
as 12 when he was captured in Afghanistan and illegally rendered from
that country nearly seven years ago.
"Having concededly subjected Mr.
Jawad to years of torture and abuse, and unlawfully deprived him of his
liberty for approximately a third of his life, this court should reject
this brazen attempt by the government to further prolong his
detention," said U.S. Air Force Major David Frakt, a lawyer for Jawad
in both his habeas and Guantánamo military commissions cases. "I look
forward to returning Mr. Jawad to his family soon."
Following his 2002 arrest in
Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade at two U.S. soldiers and
their interpreter, Jawad was subjected to repeated torture and other
mistreatment and to a systematic program of harsh and highly coercive
interrogations designed to break him physically and mentally. Jawad
tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his head repeatedly
against the wall.
Judge Huvelle today ordered the
government to submit a plan for resolving the case by July 29 and
scheduled a status conference in the case for July 30 at 10:30 a.m. EDT
in Washington, D.C.
More information about Jawad's habeas case, including today's filings, is available online at: www.aclu.org/jawad
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.