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US citizen facing Iraqi death penalty challenges impending transfer

[JURIST] Lawyers have filed an emergency motion [PDF text; declaration, PDF] in federal court to prevent the US military from surrendering translator and accused kidnapper Mohammad Munaf, a US citizen, to Iraqi officials to face the death penalty. Munaf was convicted and sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge after being arrested in Romania on kidnapping charges [JURIST report] for allegedly kidnapping and detaining three Romanian journalists for 55 days in Iraq. Lawyers for Munaf in the emergency request filed late Friday argued that the Iraqi trial violated Munaf's due process protections as a US citizen because he was not confronted with the evidence brought against him, and he was prevented from presenting his own exculpatory evidence.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] may delay deciding the Munaf case [press release] until the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] decides in Omar v. Harvey [case docket] whether the US may turn over suspected terrorists to Iraqi officials where there is a possibility they might be tortured. Lawyers for Munaf said the government could legally turn Munaf over to Iraqi officials at any time until the request for an order temporarily restraining the US from relinquishing Munaf is granted by the district court. AP has more.

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