US Plans to Release American Captured in Syria in September

Clay Curtis
June 10, 2018

A US-Saudi man suspected of fighting for the Islamic State (IS) group and now in American custody will be released in Syria, court documents show.

The circumstances of the man's detention have become a test case for how the government should treat US citizens picked up on the battlefield and accused of having ties to ISIS militants battling the USA and its allies.

Justice Department lawyers representing the US military in the case made a commitment not to release the man until at least June 21st during an appearance in federal court on Friday, according to Dror Ladin, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the detainee in the case.

At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan asked both sides for more information before ruling and set a hearing for June 20. Wyer claimed the government gave the man a choice of being dropped either outside a town or a refugee camp, but he apparently "would not agree" to the offer.

The Trump administration submitted a notice Wednesday to a federal court in Washington saying it had determined it would release the man.

Iraq launched an air strike against an Islamic State target inside neighboring Syria on Thursday, the military said.

It's common in war detention settings, he said, to return someone to "the point of capture - at least if it's safe to do so, and that's one of the questions for the court".

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been representing the detainee, arguing that as an American citizen he should either be charged in a USA court or released.

Putnam: No mores lapse in background checks
A Putnam spokesman said Friday that the employee responsible for the problem had been fired. During that time , 349,923 people applied for concealed weapons permits, Putnam said.

Nine months ago, the man was turned over to USA forces after he was captured at a rebel Syrian Democratic Forces checkpoint in Syria and declared his American citizenship. Hamdi eventually was sent to Saudi Arabia after he renounced his USA citizenship. The ACLU also says its client was beaten by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces before the group turned him over to the U.S.

Allowed to represent him, the ACLU successfully fought the decision two months ago to transfer him to another country - understood to be Saudi Arabia - without his agreement.

Chutkan said it was "disingenuous" to call that a release, triggering a government appeal in May to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where a three-judge panel agreed the government can not "forcibly - and irrevocably - transfer" the man and agreed any move would require 72 hours notice. She asked what authority she had to "second-guess" the government's decision. The detainee will be given $4,210 in cash - the same amount he had when he was captured - a new cellphone and enough food and water to last several days.

"DOD has taken all necessary and feasible precautions to ensure the safe release of the petitioner", according to the affidavit from Defense Department official Mark E. Mitchell.

"The government has effectively admitted that it has no reason to continue detaining our client and that he does not pose a threat", ACLU lawyer Jonathan Hafetz said.

The man grew up in Saudi Arabia and also had Saudi citizenship, court filings show.

The man said that he went to Syria in early 2015 to report on the militants as a freelance journalist and then was kidnapped by them.

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