ACLU Comment on Accusations Against Detained U.S. Citizen

February 14, 2018 5:15 pm

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WASHINGTON — The government filed a court document today containing allegations against the American who has been held by the U.S. military in Iraq for nearly five months without charges.

In its filing Friday in the habeas corpus case challenging the U.S. citizen’s detention, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote, “Petitioner notes that those allegations are riddled with inaccuracies, fundamentally misleading, and replete with irrelevant information. Contrary to the thrust of the government’s contentions that Petitioner is an ISIS fighter, and as Petitioner told the government, Petitioner sought to understand firsthand and report about the conflict in Syria; was kidnapped and imprisoned by ISIS; and tried numerous times to escape—and not even the government alleges that he ever took up arms against the United States or anyone else.”

The ACLU’s brief argued that the Trump administration lacks the legal authority to detain the citizen.

“The Trump administration is detaining this U.S. citizen in violation of his constitutional rights. He should either be charged or freed,” said ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz. “Americans have the right to a trial in court to defend themselves from government accusations. It would be grossly unfair to force this American to refute these factual allegations in detail now in a lengthy process that lacks core fair-trial protections when the Trump administration has no legal authority to detain him in the first place.”

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