Sunday, 18 November, 2018


Government will hold off releasing American back to Syria

RTR3WKOJ Government will hold off releasing American back to Syria
Bennie Garza | 10 June, 2018, 19:56

The man has been detained as an enemy combatant for nine months, and his detention has become a test case for how the government should treat USA citizens picked up on the battlefield and accused of having ties to IS extremists battling America and its allies.

In its filing, the ACLU argues that the government's plan amounts to a "death sentence" and calls on the court to ensure the safe release of its client.

A federal appeals court in Washington agreed and upheld another court order blocking the suspect's transfer to another country's custody.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been representing the detainee, arguing that as an American citizen he should either be charged in a USA court or released.

Late Wednesday, after months of legal setbacks, the Justice Department abruptly abandoned the case, saying in a court filing that the Pentagon would free the man as soon as Saturday near where he was captured.

The prisoner "did not identify a preference between the two locations and would not agree to the release" under those conditions, the Justice Department noted, adding that the Pentagon had made a decision to discharge him in the town "no sooner than 72 hours hence". The ACLU also says its client was beaten by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces before the group turned him over to the U.S. In the Wednesday filing, the US said it told the ACLU it could release him in a Syrian town or outside a refugee camp but that his lawyers refused to state a preference.

"They want to dump an American citizen onto the side of the road in a war-torn country without any assurances of protection and no identification", said ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz.

Second, there could also be litigation over whether the "release" is, in fact, a thinly disguised transfer to some group's custody in Syria. He disputed that the SDF - a group the USA military has worked with closely in the fight against ISIS - mistreated the detainee.

"John Doe", however, contends he was kidnapped by IS three days after his arrival in Syria, imprisoned for seven months, and then forced to carry out such actions. So on June 20, instead of arguing about the legality of imprisoning him, the two parties will argue about how unsafe it would be for him to be dropped off in Syria.

He was fighting with ISIS in Syria and got arrested by Kurdish forces loyal to the US. Even though that law was passed years before ISIS existed, Obama administration lawyers argued that the group is an offshoot of al-Qaeda and therefore covered by the 2001 authorization. The military declared him an enemy combatant and put him in a military prison in Iraq. So the Trump administration has continued to rely on the 2001 legislation to justify bombing - and now detaining - alleged ISIS fighters. The administration seems eager to avoid litigating this issue, especially concerning this detainee, who has protections as a US citizen and does not appear to be a high-level fighter. American officials have said they lack sufficient evidence to bring charges against him. "That's why they're trying to part ways with this guy".

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