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Federal judge grants ACLUF access to American detained in Iraq

[JURIST] US District Judge Tanya Chutkan [official profile] on Saturday ruled [PDF, document] that the US must allow the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLUF) [official website] access to an American citizen being held in US military custody in Iraq.

On or about September 12 of this year, the American detainee surrendered to Syrian Democratic Forces whereupon he was transferred to the US Armed Forces where he has been held, without charges or counsel, as an enemy combatant for the last three months.

The ruling "order[s] the Defense Department to allow immediate and unmonitored access to the detainee for the sole purpose of determining whether the detainee wishes for the ACLUF to continue this action on his behalf."

Judge Chutkan further acknowledged that the Defense Department was aware of the detainee's request for counsel, and that "the department's position that [the detainee's] request should simply be ignored until it decides what to do with the detainee and when to allow him access to counsel is both remarkable and troubling."

The Defense Department must refrain from transferring the detainee until the ACLUF informs the court of the detainee's wishes.

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