- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2009


It should not have taken months to recognize that Mohammed Jawad’s military detention was illegitimate (“U.S. considers release of prisoner,” Washington in 5 minutes, Nation, July 30). Of the many examples of the George W. Bush administration’s abusive and incompetent detainee policies, one of the most baffling is the case of Mohammed Jawad.

Jawad, an Afghan, was no older than 17 when he was captured in 2002 and thrown into indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Seven years, one suicide attempt and untold hours of physical and mental torture later, he remains there, a wrecked young man being held on the allegation that he hurled a grenade at two American servicemen and their interpreter — without any credible evidence that he committed this act or that he is a grave threat to American security.

In a belated victory for justice, a federal judge recognized that tragic fact last week and ordered the government to release Jawad. Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was rightly offended by the government’s repeated attempts to delay the proceeding and by the flimsiness of its case. Her ruling, granting Jawad’s petition for habeas corpus, seeks to end a travesty perpetrated by the Bush team but sadly continued under President Obama.

To its credit, the Obama Justice Department has conceded defeat in the habeas proceeding and will not pursue an appeal of Judge Huvelle’s decision. But lawyers from the new administration had no business opposing Jawad’s habeas petition in the first place. It should not have taken months and a formal motion to suppress the so-called evidence derived from torture to recognize that his military detention is illegitimate.





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