That Other Thing Going on Thursday

Posted on July 30, 2009

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While Obama is laying out the coasters and chilling the beer steins for Thursday’s absurd political theatre, Mohammed Jawad will be waiting to find out if he will see freedom before his childhood is over.

Within hours, the judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday morning in Federal District Court in Washington, setting up what could be a pivotal battle over the reach of the Supreme Court’s ruling last year that granted Guantánamo detainees the right to contest their imprisonments in habeas corpus suits.

Jawad may have been as young as 12 when he was captured by Afghan forces, tortured, made to sign a confession that he was a combatant and turned over to Guantanamo, where he’s been held for 7 years. Last week, a federal judge, noting that the Obama administration had admitted that its only evidence for holding Jawad had been extracted through torture, ordered Jawad released.

This is one case that would seem like a cake-walk. The fact that Jawad is in prison to begin with defies the imagination and certainly has everything to do with the fact that the US is the only nation in the world, besides Somalia, that hasn’t ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Indeed, Jawad may still not be an adult!  Moreover, the government of Afghanistan wants Jawad back.  There is no heming and hawing about who’ll take him. Regardless, in a shocking response, the Obama adminstration has said that it may continue to hold Jawad indefinitely while it turns over his case to the DOJ for a civilian prosecution. No one seems to know what Obama prosecutors will pull out of their hat come Thursday, but it will doubtlessly get less attention than the suds and photo-oping of Thursday’s Feel Good Beer Fest.

I’ve written about Jawad a couple of times before, here and here.

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