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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Kat

By these comments I see why America is going to hell. If the US is not going to try him or continue to hold him, then they need to send him back to the US as he is an American citizen. No one commenting knows whether he is guilty of colluding with the enemy. If he was, why is the US not going to try him? Dumping Americans in another country without a passport or any identification is not only against American law but just damn unconscionable. Ask yourself if this was someone you knew. Again why isn't the US trying this man if they feel he has colluded with the enemy?

Anonymous

He's an American citizen, covered by the constitution. If this can happen to him, it can happen to any of us, anywhere. We can't make assumptions based on suspicion. We all have rights to due process. Every single one of us.

Anonymous

No details, it's just some guy. That usually means the libs don't want people knowing the details because they are not pretty.

Anonymous

Your a Repub. how do you like being labeled? That’s all you guys know! The spreaders of fake news! & a President Cozying up to Russia! Trump and his admin just can’t handle a US citizen reporting about the Syrian war! ACLU protects Americans right to free speech and fair trials, If you like dictators and repression you can just move to Russia!

Anonymous

Only two reasons an American would go to a war zone. 1, to fight. 2, to give humanitarian aid. If he was fighting on our side people would vouch for him. If he was giving aid someone would vouch for him. If he was fighting for the enemy then he would have no one to vouch for him.

American

I grew up in the 60s with protests marches, sit-ins, and riots. In both 5th and 6th grades my teachers were both young men with long hair. Both very politically active. They taught us a lasting lesson:
1) As an America you are ALWAYS innocent before proven guilty.
2) You are given Due Process.
In high school government class I was taught about fairly new American law - the Miranda Rights.
I'm not too sure of the man's crime, but he's not been given Due Process, He seems to be judged guilty prior to his trial going to a jury of his peers. As for the Miranda Rights- I do know how that applies abroad - I would assume it wouldn't until you met with someone from the embassy.
But to simply remove him; and, ship him back to Syria is a sentence of death - it would be for any American.
I would like to know why he was in Syria. Was he fighting for ISIS? Was he there helping relatives? Or was he working as a volunteer giving aide in a war torn region? I'm sure there's a handful of both legal and illegal reason for being there, but it doesn't matter. Unless his rights are upheld and he's given his day in court we'll never know. If this can happen to 1 American it can happen to us all.
Yet again this administration ignores our Constitution.

Anonymous

I agree that this is an action of retaliation for what I do not know but, you can bet if he had done something wrong he would not be in this article. Since he is an American he needs to be brought back to America.

Anonymous

There are a number of reasons this US citizen might have been there, including familial responsibilities (like finding and rescuing family or even friends from situations we Americans could never comprehend). The situation is currently barbaric. This man is a US citizen and deserves due process.

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