Mohammed Jawad was around 12 years old when U.S. forces arrested him in Afghanistan as part of the post-9/11 search for Al-Qaeda. He has spent the last seven years illegally imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay where, as the Obama administration recently admitted, he was tortured. Records show that Jawad tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his head repeatedly against the wall.
Earlier this week, the ACLU filed suit to return Jawad to Afghanistan in response to the Obama administration’s efforts to keep Jawad at Guantanamo while it decides whether to pursue a criminal case against him. Yesterday afternoon a federal court judge ruled that Jawad’s imprisonment was unconstitutional and that he should be repatriated to Afghanistan no later than August 21.
Despite court rulings declaring military commissions unconstitutional, despite the evidence of torture against detainees at Guantanamo and Baghram - the “other Guantanamo” - despite public opinion in favor of the rule of law and despite a new administration that had pledged to clean up the mess left for them, we continue to require the courts to intervene on behalf of human rights.
Detaining individuals indefinitely without charge or trial is un-American and violates our commitment to due process and the rule of law. Torture is an affront to human rights and a violation of the Geneva Conventions. No matter who our president is, we must uphold the rule of law.
The Obama administration must end the policies of the previous administration and put an immediate end to indefinite detention and torture. You can help by sending to Attorney General Holder one of the thousands of documents from the Department of Defense that prove that detention without charge and torture have been standard operating procedure by U.S. forces.
By Mary Bejian, ACLU of Michigan Deputy Director