U.S. Citizen Has Been Held by U.S. Military in Iraq Without Charges for Over Seven Months

May 7, 2018

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court today upheld a lower court’s decision preventing the Trump administration from transferring an American held by the U.S. military in Iraq since September to another country.

In a 2 to 1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit let stand a preliminary injunction issued by the district court on April 19.

The U.S. citizen, who is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in the habeas corpus challenge to his detention, opposed his transfer after the government sent a court-mandated 72-hour notice of its plans, which the government had previously appealed as well.

“The appeals court’s judgment vindicates due process, limits on executive authority, and the protection of an American’s constitutional rights.” said ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz, who argued the issue before the appeals court on April 27. “The president does not get a blank check to dispose of the liberty of U.S. citizens just because international relations or military actions are involved.”

The Trump administration is detaining the American as an “enemy combatant” for allegedly being an ISIS fighter, an accusation he has denied in court filings.

In the case, the ACLU has argued that the executive cannot circumvent Congress by imprisoning Americans based on statutes authorizing military force for different wars against different adversaries.

Today’s order is here (a public redacted version of the opinion will be published by the court at a later time):
https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/doe-v-mattis-judgment

All documents filed in the case are here:
https://www.aclu.org/cases/doe-v-mattis-challenge-detention-american-us-military-abroad

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