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Government Takes a Different Tack in Jawad Case

Late this afternoon, as expected, the Justice Department filed its brief defending its claim that it can continue to hold Guantanamo detainee Mohammed Jawad,

Jul 31, 2020
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Late this afternoon, as expected, the Justice Departmentfiled its brief defendingits claim that it can continue to holdGuantanamo detainee Mohammed Jawad, even though it hasn’t produced any admissible evidence that he committed a crime.
But instead of arguing that the government has the right to detain him pending the filing of criminal charges, which is what it suggested in papers filedon Friday, the government now says they have to hold him to comply with Congress’ recent requirement in a Supplemental Appropriations Billthat the president give Congress 15 days’ notice before sending any Gitmo detainees home.
According to the Justice Department, which submitted a proposed orderto U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle:
under Respondents’ proposed order the government would be allowed up to seven days’ time to prepare the inter-agency report, required by the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, informing Congress of any risks to national security of Petitioner’s transfer, any measures taken to reduce that risk, and any agreements with the receiving country pertaining to its acceptance of Petitioner. Upon expiration of the 15-day notice period required by the Act, Respondents would then be obligated to promptly release Petitioner and transfer him to the receiving government.
Well, unless the Justice Department decides before that to file a criminal indictment against Jawad, which it’s already said it’s planning to do.
It seems kind of disingenuous, after telling the court it wants to hold Jawad longer so it can prosecute him, for the government now to tell the court that it hasto hold him to comply with an appropriations bill passed by Congress, which is arguably unconstitutional. (Defense lawyer Sabin Willett, who represents 13 Uighur detainees, has argued that the law is an unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.)
Perhaps the government was convinced by American Civil Liberties Union attorney Jonathan Hafetz’s argumentfiled yesterday that the government doesn’t have the authority to keep holding a prisoner without any admissible evidence against him, just because it plans in the future to file new charges in a different forum.
The government’s latest tack in this case is sneaky, but it just might work. After all, the new law does say Congress gets 15 days to approve a transfer, and that statute hasn’t yet been challenged. Unless Judge Huvelle were to rule that the law is unconstitutional, she’s likely to let the government hold Jawad another 15 days — which would give the Justice Department plenty of time to file criminal charges based on its supposedly “new” eyewitness evidence that it has never, in seven years, presented to the federal court.
Expect more challenges to this latest plan in the days to come.
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

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Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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