Here we go again. The Justice Department releases another.
Jawad was arrested by Afghan police in December 2002 for allegedly throwing a grenade into a vehicle containing two US troops and an Afghan interpreter. It’s unclear how old Jawad was at the time, but he was almost certainly 17 years old or younger. Jawad confessed to Afghan police that he had committed the crime, but later told US officials that he only did so because he had been tortured by them, making the evidence unusable under President Obama’s new rules for detainees.
The Justice Department says it has “newly available evidence” of Jawad’s “involvement with the grenade attack on two U.S. servicemen.” But the Justice Department isn’t asking for more time to investigate the new evidence. And on Wednesday night Justice Department officials submitted a proposed writ of habeas corpus for Judge Huvelle to sign.
The ACLU cheer:
A federal judge today ordered the government to release Guantánamo detainee and American Civil Liberties Union client Mohammed Jawad, who has been illegally detained by the U.S. for almost seven years. The Afghan government has indicated that it is prepared to receive Jawad immediately and unconditionally. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle gave the Justice Department until August 21 to release Jawad from Guantánamo and transfer him to the custody of the Afghan government.
Judge Huvelle also ordered the Justice Department to inform Congress of its plans for returning Jawad to Afghanistan by August 6, and to produce a report on the status of his repatriation by August 24.
The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and one of Jawad’s lawyers in his habeas corpus case:
“Judge Huvelle made clear that Mr. Jawad has been illegally detained and the government has no credible evidence to continue holding him. We are pleased that the Justice Department has expressed a commitment to getting him home so that this nightmare of abuse and injustice can finally come to an end.”
Military Families United make the opposing case:
“No coherent policy in the war on terror. No comprehensive plan in place to deal with the future of Guantanamo Bay detainees. No accountability for terrorists who attack and wound our brave fighting forces. Now, in a strikingly familiar political decision, the Obama Administration has announced it plans on releasing Mohammed Jawad, a terrorist who attacked and wounded two U.S. soldiers and an Afghan citizen in a grenade attack.
Provided with a fresh opportunity to return to the battlefield, this potential release demonstrates the Administration’s capitulation to the interests of activist organizations such as the ACLU. They have chosen to prioritize the ACLU’s interests over the lives of our troops, the national security of our country and the freedom that we as Americans enjoy.
This terrorist release announcement comes only days after the Administration failed to meet its self-imposed deadline for a developing a comprehensive plan to deal with GITMO detainees. It is just the latest example of a dangerous pattern of piecemeal decisions made to keep an ill-advised campaign promise. Military Families United has been urgently calling for the President to develop a plan to keep America safe and bring justice to these terrorists. If the President’s solution to this problem is to release terrorists, he can no longer claim he is keeping America safe. He is purposefully putting our troops in greater danger and setting a precedent that will result in more American troop deaths.
Jawad’s actions already wounded three individuals. How many more terrorists does the President need to release before he realizes the threat they pose to our troops? Our country and the brave troops that protect it should not be put at greater risk because vital national security decisions are being made to meet arbitrary deadlines and repay campaign debts to the ACLU. Americans deserve better and the country needs an effective, coherent strategy to deal with War on Terror detainees. We cannot allow terrorists to slip through our fingers because of misplaced and untrue political perceptions about Guantanamo Bay.”
It is plain sickening to see the ACLU cheer for the enemy’s freedom to threaten ours.
Marc Ambinder has an interesting breakdown of this case:
The legacy of this case will be several fold: one, it will be a test of the principle that the law demands that some dangerous folks be released, and the administration can do nothing about it. Two: the judiciary wants nothing to do with torture-obtained evidence whatsoever, regardless of whether the torturers were affiliated with the U.S. government or not. Three: the political system, which Obama puts much faith in, has restricted a key executive power that the Bush Administration claimed to possess and one that the Obama administration had not formally renounced.
I’m just curious what evidence, besides a confessed terrorist’s say so, do we have of Jawad being tortured? None.