July 24, 2009

Torture Obtained Statements Already Rejected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – After admitting to a federal judge that Guantánamo detainee and American Civil Liberties Union client Mohammed Jawad had been tortured and illegally detained for nearly seven years, the Obama administration today asked the court for permission to continue to detain Jawad while it decides whether to bring a criminal case against him. The request, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, comes after U.S. District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle berated government lawyers last week for their inadequate case against Jawad.

Last fall, a military judge in Jawad's Guantánamo military commission proceeding threw out the bulk of the evidence against him finding that it was obtained through torture. Despite that ruling, the Obama administration continued to rely on those same statements in Jawad's habeas corpus challenge before Judge Huvelle until last week when it said it would no longer rely on that evidence. The Afghan Attorney General recently sent a letter to the U.S. government demanding Jawad's return and suggesting he was as young as 12 when he was captured in Afghanistan and illegally rendered from that country nearly seven years ago.

Following his 2002 arrest in Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade at two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter, Jawad was subjected to repeated torture and other mistreatment and to a systematic program of harsh and highly coercive interrogations designed to break him physically and mentally. Jawad tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his head repeatedly against the wall.

The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and lawyer for Mohammed Jawad:

"The government's case failed in the Guantánamo military commission hearings and failed in the habeas corpus proceedings before a federal court, and now – knowing that its case would most likely be dismissed – the government is trying to take a third bite at a rotten apple. This is a pathetic attempt to prolong an outrageous case and to manipulate the court system. This travesty of justice has gone on long enough, and Jawad should be sent home."

The following can be attributed to U.S. Air Force Major David Frakt, co-counsel for Jawad:

"It is astonishing that even after conceding that the bulk of the evidence against Mr. Jawad was obtained through torture, the government is even considering proceeding with its bankrupt case. It is long past time to return Jawad home to his native Afghanistan in the face of the absence of any evidence against him."

Additional information about Jawad's case is available online at: www.aclu.org/jawad

For a copy of the transcript from last week's court hearing, contact the ACLU at the number above.

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