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07-28-2009, 08:21 AM
US judge: Case against Gitmo inmate is ‘gutted’ over tortured ‘confession’


By Stephen C. Webster
Published: July 25, 2009

A U.S. district court judge expressed “outrage” over the Justice Department’s admission that it does not have enough evidence to continue the detention of a teenager as an “enemy combatant” in Guantanamo Bay.

Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said in a ruling Friday that the case against Mohammed Jawad is “gutted” because Jawad allegedly confessed under torture by Afghan officials that he had thrown a grenade at U.S. troops, according to a report by McClatchy Newspapers. Jawad was just 12 at the time, according to his lawyers, though the Pentagon says he was 16 or 17.

“Without his statements, I don’t understand your case,” the judge said, according to reporter Marisa Taylor. “Sir, the facts can only get smaller, not bigger. . . . Face it, this case is in trouble. . . . Seven years and this case is riddled with holes.”

“She then urged the lawyers to ‘let him out. Send him back to Afghanistan,’” the article continued.

Justice Department lawyers asked to delay Jawad’s release so the case may be reviewed, and Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly called for the case to be “expedited.” The administration also said it would seek to transfer Jawad into the U.S. for a criminal trial in federal court.

“In light of the multiple eyewitness accounts that were not previously available for inclusion in the record — including videotaped interviews — as well as third-party statements,” the government has decided to prosecute the case, the documents said.

But the documents reviewed by AFP said Jawad would not be immediately transferred to the United States.

Tanzanian national Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who was transferred to the United States on June 9, became the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be sent to a US court for a civilian trial. His case is proceeding in a New York court.