The Trump Administration Wants to Dump a Detained American Into One of the Most Dangerous Places on Earth

For almost nine months, a U.S. citizen illegally detained by the U.S. military in Iraq without charges has been fighting in court for his freedom. Wednesday night, the Trump administration told the judge that it was going to let him go — but with a deadly catch.

The government said that it plans to drop off our client in Syria, either in a town or outside a refugee camp. He would have no identification or assurances of protection. This isn’t a safe release, it’s a death sentence, and we will soon be challenging it in court. As the U.S. government itself says in State Department travel advisories, no place in Syria is safe for U.S. citizens.

Our client was detained in September by Kurdish forces in Syria and transferred to U.S. military custody in Iraq. The Trump administration has held this American as an “enemy combatant,” claiming that he fought for ISIS, which he denies. Now, with a court hearing scheduled in less than two weeks on whether the government can legally hold him, it wants to suddenly abandon him in the country he was trying to flee after being shot at, beaten, and threatened with death.

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The government’s notification of its plans, which it said it won’t carry out for at least 72 hours, is a crucial development in the case for another reason: The government is admitting that it has no reason to keep our client locked up and that he poses no threat.

But instead of offering a safe release — as it is obligated to do under the Constitution, international law, and Department of Defense policies — the Trump administration wants to dump this American on the side of the road in a war-torn country without any assurances of protection. Treating anyone in such a disgraceful way is outrageous, and it’s frankly astonishing that the government proposes to do this to one of its own citizens.

The State Department gives Syria its highest level of warning for U.S. citizens: “Do not travel,” adding that “No part of Syria is safe from violence.” The State Department even goes so far as to advise Americans intent on going there that they should first draft a will, make funeral arrangements, and leave DNA samples with their doctor — presumably to identify remains. The Trump administration won’t even deport Syrians from the U.S. to Syria because it said that doing so “would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.”

U.S. Department of State, Syria travel advisory

In April, the government tried to transfer the American to the custody of another government against his will. We successfully argued in both the district court and appeals court that such a forcible transfer would violate his constitutional rights.

Now our fight for our client’s right to due process has also become a fight for his right to life. A court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in Washington. This American deserves to be set free — but not like this.

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Anonymous

Most international war crime indictments happen 20-40 years after the war crimes took place. 2001 plus 20 years = 2021. In other local police officers, state and federal officials that violated legally binding torture treaties and torture laws could start being indicted soon. Think about your golden retirement years - "Just say NO to war crimes and illegal orders". We're coming for you! War crimes eventually get prosecuted!

Dr. Timothy Leary

It doesn't matter what the government does with this guy someone, somewhere is going to find fault with it. I recommend that they give him a snitch jacket, then let him go. That's probably what they are doing now.

Anonymous

I wish we could dump Trump is Syria and never hear from him again, maybe they would take pity on him because of his bone spurs they could cut off his feet no more bone spurs.

Flaque

The fact that it was the Kurds who turned him in makes me wonder about his innocence. But still, each person has their supposed "God-given" rights. Don't know about the God part, but on the rights, I agree.

Anonymous

No, this person needs to be given to Syrian Arab Republic; it is their responsibility to try this person for alleged crimes committed during their civil war. If the U.S. Government will not hand him over to the Syrian Arab Republic then he needs to be released in Iraq, either on the streets or to the Iraqi authorities for further investigation.

U.S. citizens are responsible for following all laws of the country they are in, and are subject to the jurisdiction of the host country when laws are broken, this issue is no exception.

Anonymous

But he was innocent!! They fukd up and now won't admit it so they dumb him back from where he was escaping a WAR!!! Held him prisoner found no grounds. Instead of saying sorry they dumb him. Dumb ass

Anonymous

If he was detained in Syria, then that is where they will release him. It only makes sense, when a person is detained in America, you are released in front of the jail/prison. They do not give you a ride home...why the spin on your headline? Why was he in Syria to begin with? Was he really trying to flee?

Anonymous

Why Syria? This blog really doesn't have enough information.

Anonymous

Like his name

Anonymous

They are going to drop him off in Syria near where they found him (nice omission by the way). If he belongs to the area in which he was found, he shouldn't have much problem going about his business.

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