The US government has had an “unnamed detainee” in Iraq since September and still refuse to give him an attorney
The US military detained the man by claiming he was fighting with ISIS in Syria
To this day, the US government has failed to provide any evidence of their claim
The unknown citizen has been detained since mid-September with no charges filed
The US government is trying to keep the ACLU from representing him in court
An unknown American citizen has been detained by US Military since Mid-September without any charges somewhere in Iraq. Not only was the unknown citizen’s request for a lawyer ignored, the US government is making it almost impossible for organization’s such as the ACLU to have contact with him.
The US government has stripped away the man’s basic Constitutional rights and went as far to strip him of his name. In filings, the government refers to the man only as the “unnamed detainee.”
The government is accusing the man of being an “enemy combatant” for allegedly fighting with ISIS in Syria. However, the government has yet to provide any evidence of the unknown citizen’s relationship with ISIS.
After the Pentagon and Justice Department ignored the ACLU’s request to help the man with legal assistance, the organization filed a habeas corpus petition on behalf of the unnamed detainee.
At the first court appearance, Judge Tanya Chutkan asked if the man was advised of his constitutional rights and if he has asserted his right to an attorney. The government attorney hesitated answering that the Defense Department had not released that information.
Chutkan demanded an answer to her questions by 5:00 pm, which the ACLU notes is an “unusually tight deadline for a judge to impose on the government.”
You’re not answering my question, and I’m not trying to be impatient, but I’m growing impatient. I’m amazed you didn’t come to this hearing with that information.
The answer to Chutkan’s questions came at 5:00 pm. In the government filings, it stated the man was notified of his Miranda rights and stated that he wanted an attorney. Federal agents responded by telling the man they did not know how long it would be until he received an attorney.
The individual stated he understood his rights, and said he was willing to talk to the agents but also stated that since he was in a new phase, he felt he should have an attorney present. The agents explained that due to his current situation, it was unknown when he would be able to have an attorney, and the individual stated that it was ok and that he is a patient man. The individual then asked whether when he saw the agents next with his attorney, would it be at his current location or somewhere else. The agents told him they were uncertain when they would see him again. No further questioning of the individual for law enforcement purposes has taken place.
The ACLU requested the court to force the US government to ask the unknown citizen if he wanted to challenge his detention and allow the organization to represent him in court. The US government is opposing the ACLU’s request, claiming that without speaking to the detainee it is not known if that is the man’s wishes.
Chutkan called the government’s argument circular, followed by pointing out the government’s main issue was created by the government’s barrier. Of course, no one can claim it is the man’s wish if the government will not allow anyone to speak to him. Chutkan also noted that the ACLU is not some random person trying to get involved, “this is what they do.”
It is horrifying that the American government has an unnamed American citizen detained for this long while refusing him an attorney. The government claims they are working “diligently” to put together their “final disposition.” In the meantime, Chutkan ordered an additional court date on December 8.
It’s been two and a half months — I’d like to know how long you think you get to do this to a U.S. citizen… Six months? A year? Basically, it’s just, ‘Trust us, we know what we’re doing.’
The International Committee of the Red Cross was allowed access to the unknown citizen in order to ensure that his detention conditions meet Geneva Conventions. The government claims the man could have conveyed his need for an attorney to the ICRC to relay to his family. It is not the ICRC’s job to find the man an attorney. It is the US government’s responsibility to give the unknown man his due process.
The government could snatch any U.S. citizen off the street and hold them as an enemy combatant… for as long as it took to come to some ‘final disposition.’ That kind of unchecked power is, quite frankly, frightening.