Guantánamo Detainee Mohammed Jawad Returned Home to Afghanistan

For Immediate Release

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Rachel Myers, (646) 206-8643 or (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

Guantánamo Detainee Mohammed Jawad Returned Home to Afghanistan

ACLU Client Was Illegally Detained by US For Almost Seven Years

WASHINGTON - American
Civil Liberties Union client Mohammed Jawad was released from
Guantánamo and returned to Afghanistan today, ending nearly seven years
of illegal detention by the U.S. In July, U.S. District Judge Ellen S.
Huvelle granted Jawad's habeas corpus petition and ordered the Justice
Department to release him, finding there was no credible evidence to
continue holding him. Judge Huvelle had previously issued a ruling
throwing out Jawad's supposed "confession" because it was the product
of torture.

The Afghan Attorney General recently
sent a letter to the U.S. government demanding Jawad's return and
confirming that Jawad was a young teenager when he was captured in
Afghanistan and illegally rendered from that country in December 2002.
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. Eventually, Jawad tried to commit suicide in
his cell by slamming his head repeatedly against the wall.

Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, the
former lead prosecutor in Jawad's military commission case, resigned
from the case because he didn't believe he could ethically proceed with
it given Jawad's mistreatment and the lack of credible evidence against
him.

The following can be attributed to
Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project
and one of Jawad's lawyers in his habeas corpus case:

"We are so pleased that this
nightmare of abuse and injustice has finally come to an end. While Mr.
Jawad can never get back the nearly seven years he was illegally
detained and tortured, now he can finally return home to his family,
friends and country, and begin to build a normal life.

"While Mr. Jawad's release is a
long-awaited victory for the rule of law, there are many other
detainees who are still being held illegally. We are hopeful that the
government will act swiftly to close Guantánamo and handle all of the
remaining detainees in a manner consistent with America's Constitution
and its values. Any detainee suspected of a crime must be charged and
tried in the federal courts, which are fully capable of handling
terrorism cases. After so many years, the government should have
reliable, untainted evidence against any suspect it believes is guilty.
If not, it has no justification to continue imprisoning him."

The following can be attributed to U.S. Air Force Major David Frakt, co-counsel for Jawad:

"Mr. Jawad has finally returned home
to celebrate Ramadan with his family after nearly seven long years
away. This is a tremendous victory for justice and the rule of law.
Although nothing can ever replace those lost years, fortunately this
remarkable young man is still young enough to build a life for himself.
He is eager to go back to school and complete his education so that he
can help others in Afghan society. We're hopeful that the many other
innocent men still being illegally detained at Guantanamo will also
soon be released."

More information about Jawad's case is available at: www.aclu.org/jawad

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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.

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