Obama Administration Releases Gitmo Detainee Mohammed Jawad

Aug 24, 2009 2:56pm

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed Jawad is in Afghanistan and will be released into his family's custody today.

Jawad was arrested by Afghan police in December 2002 for allegedly throwing a grenade into a vehicle containing two U.S. troops and an Afghan interpreter.

In July, a judge granted his writ of habeas corpus; Justice Department officials had 22 days to determine whether they would attempt to try Jawad in a criminal court in the U.S. Despite talk of new evidence, ultimately they didn't file any new charges.

It's unclear how old Jawad was at the time, but he was almost certainly 17 years old or younger.

Jawad confessed to Afghan police that he had committed the crime, but later told U.S. officials that he only did so because he had been tortured by them, making the evidence unusable under President Obama's new rules for detainees. 

The Justice Depertment in a statement said that "Jawad’s transfer was carried out under an arrangement between the United States and the government of Afghanistan. The United States has coordinated closely with the government of Afghanistan to ensure the transfer takes place under appropriate security measures and will continue to consult with the Afghan government regarding Jawad."

In a phone interview from Kabul, Jawad's attorney, Eric Montalvo, told ABC News that Jawad had met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well as the country's attorney general. Afghan authorities are fully releasing Jawad with no conditions, he said.

Montalvo said the case "represents the best and the worst" of the U.S. justice system. "It's sad that it took this long to get him here, but this is a great example of what the defense bar in the U.S. military is able to accomplish."

But Montalvo said he was dismayed that the U.S. government wasn't providing any structure or assistance for Jawad. Some NGOs will be assisting him, he said.

Kirk Lippold, former USS Cole Commander and a senior fellow at Military Families United, decried that, "in a what has become a sadly familiar pattern of decisions, the Obama Administration has released without trial Mohammed Jawad, a terrorist who attacked and wounded two U.S. soldiers and an Afghan citizen." Lippold called the release "just the latest example of dangerous decisions made by the Administration aimed at keeping a reckless campaign promise."

– jpt

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