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DOJ agrees not to oppose suppression of Guantanamo detainee confession

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] stated on Wednesday that they do not oppose [response, PDF] a motion to suppress [text, PDF] the allegedly torture-induced confession of Guantanamo detainee Mohammed Jawad [ACLU materials; JURIST news archive]. Jawad's motion sought to suppress all out-of-court statements made to US and Afghan officials on the grounds that they were the product of coercion and because they did not meet the voluntariness requirement of federal habeas proceedings. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] supported Jawad's motion, claiming that the government is still relying on the statements [press release] in question. Mainly at issue is a confession signed by Jawad at an Afghan police station after being arrested for allegedly throwing a grenade at US soldiers. Jawad's motion claimed that the confession was written in Persian, which he does not understand, and that he is "functionally illiterate," even in his native language. The motion also alleged that interrogators threatened to kill Jawad and his family if he did not confess. Post-arrest statements made by Jawad were previously suppressed by a military tribunal judge on the grounds that they were elicited by torture. Jawad's motion claimed that the government was collaterally estopped from religitating the issue. In their response, the DOJ asked for the status conference on Jawad's habeas action to be postponed until August.

Jawad's case has been controversial due to repeated delays in the proceedings. In May, Jawad's military lawyers asked the Supreme Court of Afghanistan to demand his release [JURIST report] from Guantanamo. The petition for his release was because the planned closure [JURIST news archive] of the facility allegedly delayed the case in the US. 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 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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