Enemy Combatant To Be Freed; Banned From The USA

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by NATO AIR, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    looks like the Justice Dept. has bungled once again (something they've been doing for what, 20 years now?), blowing this major terrorist case here.

    Out of the Brig
    ‘Enemy combatant’ Yaser Hamdi will soon be released from a military prison without facing any charges.
    EXCLUSIVE
    By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
    Newsweek

    Updated: 4:58 p.m. ET Sept. 15, 2004Sept. 15 - The first U.S. government-declared "enemy combatant" in the war on terror will soon be released from a military prison in South Carolina under an agreement that will allow him to fly home to Saudi Arabia as a free man, administration officials tell NEWSWEEK.

    The agreement to free Yaser Esam Hamdi represents a stunning reversal for the Bush administration, which argued for more than two years that the former Taliban fighter was potentially so dangerous that he had to be detained indefinitely in solitary confinement with no access to counsel and no right to trial.

    But in a landmark ruling last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Hamdi, an American citizen, be allowed to consult with his lawyer and challenge the basis for his imprisonment. This pushed the case back into federal court and forced the Justice Department to mount a hasty retreat.

    The result, officials say, is a highly detailed agreement that is expected to be made public later this week. It will result in Hamdi being flown back to Saudi Arabia on a U.S. military aircraft without ever being charged with any terror-related activity—a symbolic victory for critics who have long pointed to the case as a prime example of what they see as the Bush administration's overreaching in combating the terrorist threat.

    Still, Justice Department officials said today the agreement contains important provisions to protect U.S. interests, including requirements that Hamdi renounce his U.S. citizenship, agree not to return to the United States and consent not to travel to an extensive list of countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq or Syria, where he could be presumably be recruited for terrorist activity. Hamdi is also supposed to keep Saudi authorities notified of his whereabouts—a requirement that even government officials say will do little, if anything, to restrict his movements in the country.

    A senior Justice Department official insisted to NEWSWEEK that Hamdi was never considered anything more than a "low-level terrorist" and that his release is in keeping with "standard" practice during earlier conflicts—in which prisoners of war were eventually returned home.
    "When an individual is no longer considered to be a threat and their intelligence value is exhausted, it is common to release them," said the official.

    Frank Dunham, the federal public defender who took on Hamdi's cause after reading about him in the newspaper and argued his case right up to the Supreme Court, declined to comment on the agreement until it was finalized. But he was expected to obtain Hamdi's signature on the document by today, paving away for the Justice Department to publicly release it and file it in court.

    One crucial question is when and if Hamdi will himself will go public with his version of the events that unwittingly thrust him into the forefront of the debate over the constitutional protections that should be afforded to those suspected of terrorism. Hamdi has never been permitted to speak publicly, and Dunham, his lawyer, was not allowed to argue in court about the particulars of Hamdi's odyssey that took him to Afghanistan. But once Hamdi does return to Saudi Arabia—probably in the next few weeks—he may well wish to finally speak out.

    Hamdi was born in Louisiana while his father was working there for an oil company; his family returned to Saudi Arabia when he was 3 years old and he grew up in that country. U.S. Officials say that in November 2001 he was fighting as part of a Taliban unit and was carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle when he was captured by pro-U.S. Northern Alliance forces in northern Afghanistan. His captors turned him over to the U.S. military. His family has maintained that he had gone to Afghanistan on a humanitarian mission and was forced to fight for the Taliban there.

    Whatever the precise circumstances, Hamdi's case became noteworthy when U.S. officials realized that, because of his Louisiana birth, he was a U.S. citizen—thereby raising concerns that if he was held with other suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, his family could file a habeas corpus petition challenging his incarceration. This prompted U.S. officials to fly him to Charleston, S.C., where he was held in a Navy brig. When Dunham read about his case and, as the federal public defender for the region, sought access to him, Justice Department officials refused on the grounds that he was an "enemy combatant" and didn't have a right to counsel. The same claim was made several months later about Chicago-born Jose Padilla, who is accused of coming to the United States to set off a radiological "dirty" bomb. Padilla is being held in the same military brig in Charleston from which Hamdi is to be released. Although the Supreme Court said that Padilla also has the right to challenge his detention, it ruled in June that Padilla needs to refile his habeas petition in South Carolina rather than New York



    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6012286/site/newsweek/
     
  2. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    More importantly, will he ALSO be banned from USMB?? :)
     
  3. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    :clap1:
    well, maybe not, but i think he has to tell us wherever he's going and he can't go visit any other arab countries.
     
  4. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    guess there was nothing he could really be charged with then, sure says alot about the so called no right to counsel crap.
     
  5. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    yea, i'm expecting padilla to get released as well, then sue the pants off the gov't and expose this entire pathetic exercise in "homeland security" the FBI and Justice Dept. have been bungling for the past 3 years. 3 years of critical mistake after critical mistake and I feel much less safer knowing these idiots are on the job.

    Its like Bob Graham said (and for once since the iraq war aftermath he made good sense), "its not the leaders, its the people themselves."
     

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