Military commissions review court grants government continuance in Jawad case News
Military commissions review court grants government continuance in Jawad case

[JURIST] The US Court of Military Commission Review (USCMCR) [official website] on Wednesday granted [order, PDF] a government request [motion, PDF] for a 120-day continuance on an intermediate appeal in its case against Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammed Jawad [DOD materials; JURIST news archive]. The government asked the court to grant the continuance in light of an executive order [JURIST report] by President Barack Obama [official website] requiring a review of the military commission [JURIST news archive] system, arguing that proceeding with the case would be futile until the review is complete. Lawyers for Jawad opposed [text, PDF] the continuance, arguing that the USCMCR lacked authority to grant the motion, and that any likely changes to the military commission system would not favor the government's position. Siding with the government, the court reasoned that it ought to grant deference to the government given national security and foreign policy concerns:

[T]he reason for the delay is to allow the Department of Defense to participate in an Interagency review, not only of the military commission process, but also the status of those apprehended and presently detained at Guantanamo Bay – including the Appellee – their conditions, and the factual and legal bases for their apprehension and detention, all in the context of the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

The government is appealing an earlier decision [JURIST report] by a military judge to exclude a confession by Jawad on the grounds that it was solicited through the use of torture. 

Jawad's trial was initially delayed [JURIST report] in December to give prosecutors more time to appeal the exclusion of his confession. In January, the USCMCR heard arguments [JURIST report] regarding the exclusion. 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.