U.S. Citizen Tortured in U.A.E. Could Soon Face Trial

June 4, 2009 12:00 am

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ACLU/SC Presses for Details of U.S. Involvement

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Washington D.C. – The case of an American citizen who was tortured in the United Arab Emirates and held at the behest of the U.S. is heading into a new phase. On June 8, the ACLU of Southern California will ask a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C. to compel the federal government to reveal the extent of U.S. involvement in the arrest and detention of Naji Hamdan. Meanwhile, Hamdan is scheduled to appear June 14 in a U.A.E. court on unspecified terrorism charges. Testimony obtained from him under torture could be used at his trial.

Hamdan’s case could prove to be a test for the Obama Administration and how it handles Bush-era “proxy detentions” – the detention of individuals by foreign governments at the behest of U.S. officials. It also comes as the U.A.E.’s human rights record is under heavy scrutiny.

Hamdan, a father and husband, lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years and built his business and family there. He was detained in the U.A.E. on Aug. 29, 2008 and held incommunicado for over three months. He reported being severely tortured during that time, and said at least one American official participated in interrogating him. In November, the ACLU/SC sued for his release and he was subsequently turned over to criminal custody in the U.A.E., where he could contact his family.

Attorneys for Hamdan will be in Washington D.C. on Monday, June 8 arguing before Judge James Robertson. To arrange an interview with them, contact the ACLU of Southern California at 213.977.5252.

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