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American citizen captured in Iraq designated "enemy combatant"

[JURIST] US Department of Defense [official website] spokesmen have said that US forces in Iraq are holding a man with joint US and Jordanian citizenship who is said to be a senior operative for terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi. The unidentified suspect, who is the first American known to be captured fighting for the Iraq insurgency, is said to have been Zarqawi's emissary to insurgent groups in several cities in Iraq and also worked to coordinate the movement of insurgents and money into Iraq. He was apparently captured late last year. He ha since been deemed an enemy combatant [JURIST news archive] and thus not entitled to prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Conventions [ICRC backgrounder]. Despite a 2004 US Supreme Court ruling recognizing that US citizen held as "enemy combatants" have the right to challenge their detention through counsel, he has had no access to a lawyer and has not been charged. It is unclear whether the suspect will be prosecuted under Iraq's new legal system or whether he will be turned over to the US Justice Department. American citizens previously designated "enemy combatants" have included Yaser Hamdi [JURIST news archive], since deported to Saudi Arabia, and Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive]. Friday's Los Angeles Times has more.

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