US military lawyers petition Afghan court to seek release of Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] US military lawyers for Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammed Jawad [ACLU materials, JURIST news archive] asked the Supreme Court of Afghanistan [official website] Monday to demand his release from the facility. The lawyers have petitioned the Afghan high court because the planned closure of Guantanamo [JURIST news archive] has allegedly delayed the case [AP report] in the US. Jawad's lawyers argue that his Guantanamo imprisonment is illegal because Afghan law did not allow for his extradition, and they hope that their court petition creates enough political pressure to elicit a response from the US. The military lawyers have also found new information regarding Jawad's age, maintaining that he is even younger than previously thought. Although there are no documents to prove either assertion, Jawad's lawyers have maintained that he was only 16 or 17 at the time of his imprisonment while the US government has stated that Jawad was 18. The new information suggests that Jawad may have been born in 1991, which would have made him 11 years old at the time of the alleged attack on US troops in 2002.

The delay of Jawad's case has been contested before. In April, a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that Jawad's habeas petition should not be delayed. The judge based the ruling on the Boumediene v. Bush [opinion, PDF] decision, which calls for the prompt adjudication of Guantanamo detainees' habeas cases. The US Court of Military Commission Review (USCMCR) [official website] in February granted [order, PDF; JURIST report] a government request [motion, PDF] for a 120-day continuance on an intermediate appeal in its case against Jawad. Jawad's trial was initially delayed [JURIST report] in December to give prosecutors more time to appeal the exclusion of his confession, which was deemed to have been coerced. The original military prosecutor of the case quit the military commission in September citing conscience reasons. Jawad has been charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] with attempted murder and intentionally causing serious bodily injury for his alleged role in a December 2002 grenade attack in Kabul that injured two US soldiers and an Afghan translator. In May 2008, Jawad moved [JURIST report] to have all charges against him dismissed, alleging that he has been tortured in US custody and subjected to the so-called "frequent-flier program," in which certain inmates are moved between cells at two to four hour intervals in an attempt to cause physical stress through sleep deprivation.

 

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