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Federal judge orders Jawad released from Guantanamo

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Thursday ordered [text, PDF] that Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed Jawad [ACLU materials; JURIST news archive] be released prior to August 24. Largely adopting a proposed order [text, PDF] filed by the government on Wednesday, Judge Ellen Huvelle granted Jawad's habeas corpus petition, giving the government seven days to submit a report to Congress detailing any risk to national security presented by the release and providing a 15-day congressional notice period, as required by the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (SAA) [text]. Jonathon Hafetz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] National Security Project representing Jawad, welcomed the decision, saying:

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.

In a memorandum [text, PDF] supporting Wednesday's proposed order, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] had argued that logistical concern including the time required for congress to allocate the necesssary funds and for a military transport aircraft to be made available, required that Huvelle deny Jawad's request [JURIST report] to be released immediately. Jawad rejected the government's logistical argument, saying that his repatriation to Afghanistan by Afghan or intermediary officials could be planned in 24 hours and "in a manner that does not cost the U.S. Government a dime."

Last week, a judge ordered the suppression [order, PDF; JURIST report] of all out-of-court statements made by Jawad that may have been elicited through torture. Earlier this month, the DOJ chose not to oppose [response, PDF; JURIST report] a motion [text, PDF] filed by Jawad's lawyers to suppress the statements. In May, Jawad's military lawyers asked the Supreme Court of Afghanistan to demand his release [JURIST report] from Guantanamo. Jawad had 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 on the basis of the abuse he claimed to have suffered.

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