December 7, 2017

A federal court will hear oral argument Monday on the indefinite detention of a U.S. citizen held secretly in U.S. military custody in Iraq since mid-September.

The hearing will in part cover whether the court has the authority to order the Defense Department to present the American with two basic questions: whether he wants to challenge his detention in court and whether he would like to be represented by the American Civil Liberties Union or other counsel. The questions were requested by the ACLU, and the government opposed.

In response to a court order issued during the first hearing in the case on November 30, the government informed the court that the FBI agents questioning the American “for law enforcement purposes” advised him of his Miranda rights and that he has asked for a lawyer.

The government still has not identified the citizen, who is being held as an “enemy combatant” for allegedly fighting on behalf of ISIS in Syria. The ACLU filed a habeas corpus petition on the man’s behalf on October 5, demanding that the Trump administration justify its detention of the American without charges or access to a court, and the organization also asked to be put in secure contact with him to offer legal assistance.

“The government cannot evade judicial review of the detention of an American citizen,” said ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz, who will argue in court Monday. “The courts have an essential role to play to ensure that the Trump administration obeys the Constitution, especially in cases like this one where an American’s most fundamental rights are at stake.”

The government’s latest brief is here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/aclu-foundation-v-mattis-respondents-supplemental-brief

The ACLU’s latest brief is here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/aclu-foundation-v-mattis-petitioners-supplemental-brief

All documents filed in the case are here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/aclu-foundation-v-mattis

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