Court Found Inadequate Case Against ACLU Client Mohammed Jawad
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NEW YORK – Guantánamo detainee Mohammed 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: www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/40450lgl20090716.html
"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