8 Years Later, Mohammed Jawad Returns to Afghanistan From Guantanamo

Mohammed Jawad (smiling, on the left) seized as a young teenager in Afghanistan 8 years ago, and sent to Guantanamo in 2003, has arrived home in Afghanistan. The DOJ's paltry announcement is here. From the Herald article:

Mohammed Jawad, whose confession to throwing a hand grenade that wounded two U.S. soldiers was rejected as coerced by torture, was taken by helicopter into Kabul from Bagram Air Base and taken to the office of the Afghan attorney general. A former defense attorney, U.S. Marine Corps Maj, Eric Montalvo, said Jawad would meet with President Hamid Karzai and would then be released to an uncle.


How did he get released?

Jawad's journey home began last October, when a U.S. military judge in Guantánamo ruled that Afghan police had threatened to kill Jawad's mother during his interrogation. Those threats constituted torture, Army Col. Stephen Henley said, and the confession was not admissible as evidence.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in Washington, D.C., ordered the young Afghan's release on July 30, after declaring the Pentagon case a "shambles'' and ruling that without the confession, there was no link between Jawad and the grenade attack.

He was a child when he was seized and turned over to the American military:

He was held as an adult in a series of steel and cement prisons that segregated supposedly hard-core al Qaeda ideologues and foot soldiers, even after his Marine lawyer said an investigation in Afghanistan found he was captured at age 14.

The ACLU represented Jawad:

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Jonathan Hafetz, who filed Jawad's unlawful detention suit, called the young Afghan's case "emblematic of everything that is wrong with Guantánamo.''

"A young teenager was illegally rendered from his country, tortured, and held for years without reliable or credible evidence,'' Hafetz said. "In the end, his rights were vindicated through habeas corpus, but this took far too long, a consequence of the United States' reprehensible effort to create a prison beyond the law.''

Another outrage: The U.S. is providing zero for his rehabilitation and sent him home with only the clothes on his back.

The ACLU and other groups paid the travel expenses for one of his lawyers, U.S. Marine Corps Maj, Eric Montalvo, to fly to Afghanistan in case the Afghans didn't release Jawad.

"I don't trust anything until I see him in his house with his family."

It's a good thing he was there:

Jawad's lead defense attorney, Air Force Reserve Maj. David Frakt, credited Montalvo's decision to travel to Afghanistan with ensuring that Jawad was freed and not imprisoned again.

"When Major Montalvo arrived this morning, he went straight to the Attorney General’s Office and learned that Jawad was being transported to an Afghan prison. Major Montalvo intervened and persuaded the AG to divert Jawad directly to the AG's office," Frakt said in a statement. "Jawad had a happy reunion with Eric, then Jawad's family was summoned and they all convened in the AG's office for a tearful and joyous reunion.

"Were it not for the presence of a member of the Jawad defense team, things might have gone very differently," Frakt said.

Montalvo also aptly notes:

"If the United States is concerned about his welfare and the recidivism issue, don't you want to take care that he is treated with love and cared for and rehabilitated," Montalvo said.

"Every day you spend in prison is like seven years of your life," Montalvo said. "he's been tortured. He was taken as a child, He's been deprived of ever normal social interaction he should have."

The stain of Guantanamo. How will we ever get rid of it? Our prior coverage of Jawad's case is assembled here.

< ACLU Gets DOJ Legal Documents on Interrogation Policies | Tuesday Morning Open Thread >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Good to see that smile (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 08:31:25 AM EST
    Thanks to Maj. Montalvo for representing the best of America. If Jawad does not turn to a life of war against the USA, perfectly justified in his case,  it will be due to the efforts of Montalvo and those like him.

    I second that... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 10:22:55 AM EST
    mad props to the ACLU as well for all their hardwork, and chipping in for plane fare with the the other groups who give a damn about our moral standing in the world.

    Shame on the US govt. for the obvious reasons, as well as not cutting the guy a check...how f*cked up is that?


    Does the fact that he most likely (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 10:38:11 AM EST
    threw grenades at our troops bother you?

    Considering our troops... (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 10:44:23 AM EST
    invaded his country, no it doesn't, it is justifiable in war to defend your home from foreign aggression.  I'd throw a grenade at invading Afghanis without batting an eye.

    Uh, we were invading because the Taliban (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:03:33 AM EST
    was keeping al-Qaeda and OBL safe.

    kdog, I love you brother but al-Qadea and the other radical terrorists are not the moral equivalent of America.

    Plus, he was acting as a Guerilla.

    There is a reason that civilians aren't killed. That is because they are not in uniform and are no threat to the military. When someone violates that rule... becomes a Guerilla...they lose all protection.


    They don't "lose all protection" (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by CST on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:07:56 AM EST
    at that point they should be treated as a prisoner of war in that case and be afforded the protections of the geneva conventions.

    That being said, your first assumption that he threw grenades is just that, an assumption.  One that didn't hold up in military court.

    If I was being tortured, I might admit to just about anything.


    didn't even hold up in MILITARY court... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:38:02 AM EST
    ...just to re-emphasize for Jim.  

    also, while we are not AQ or the Taliban, it cannot be denied, on any factual level, that our nation has committed many heinous acts for which we have no excuse.  the inability of many people to even CONSIDER those acts as heinous and unjustified is simply denial of a very profound and insidious sort (since it exists in what bills itself as the greatest and most free nation on earth).


    He never went to trial. (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 12:06:29 PM EST
    so because... (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 01:31:22 PM EST
    ...the MILITARY justice system found there was not even sufficient basis to take it to trial, that means nothing?  That means a 12 year old should've been treated this way?

    Serious question, have you ever been inside a juvenile detention facility here in the U.S.?  


    No it means (2.00 / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:48:26 PM EST
    that it is impossible to give a "fair" trial in a war zone situation if the judge thinks he/she is trying a QuickiMart robber.

    Jawad admitted having been there, but pleaded innocence. "I am not the person who threw the grenade," he said.

    "I was there," he told the tribunal. "A person gave me something, but I did not know what the object was that the person gave me." After the incident, a "shopkeeper told me that it was a bomb and that I should go and throw it in the river. I put the thing back in my pocket and I was running and shouting to say 'Stay away, it's a bomb.' When I got close to the river, people [the police] caught me."


    So the question is, do you believe Jawad or not?

    I can paint another picture quite easily.

    Seeing the attack fail and not wanting to get caught Jawad takes off running shouting that he has a bomb to scare people away.

    Of course the attack didn't completely fail. A US soldier was grievously injured.


    Old enough to throw a grenade, (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:54:48 PM EST
    old enough to torture.

    Really, it's just a continuation of the old red state "old enough to bleed.." mentality.


    Actually you need to read the GC (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 12:05:25 PM EST
    The international criminal tribunal (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by CST on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 12:14:32 PM EST
    disagrees with you.  From wiki

    "Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or again, a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law. We feel that this is a satisfactory solution - not only satisfying to the mind, but also, and above all, satisfactory from the humanitarian point of view."

    Unless you are suggesting he is still a civilian.


    I don't think we pay much attention to Brussels... (2.00 / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 03:02:17 PM EST
    A Gureilla is not a POW because he falls outside. He is not a civilian because of his actions.

    He is a Gureilla.

    Sorry about that.


    Love you to brother... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:37:43 AM EST
    we've been banging heads on this type of argument since 2002...we're gonna have to agree to disagree.

    His Confession Was Coerced By Torture (none / 0) (#22)
    by john horse on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 06:51:44 PM EST
    and "without the confession, there was no link between Jawad and the grenade attack" according to U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle.

    Those of us in the reality based world require that prosecutors prove their case.  And based on the facts presented in court there was no basis for concluding that Mohammed Jawad was the "most likely" to have thrown the grenade.  

    How do you do it Jim?  How do you draw conclusions that are the opposite of what the facts suggest?


    So you believe (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 10:35:32 AM EST
    in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?

    Well that is pretty well defined in the Koran.


    "Never impose on others... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 11:41:30 AM EST
    ...what you would not choose for yourself."

    Attributed to Confucius, 500 years before Jesus said a version of the same thing.


    Reading only out-of-context (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 02:21:56 PM EST
    excerpts posted by the chickenhawks at neocon central dosnt qualify you as a scholar of Islam.

    "I come not to bring peace, (none / 0) (#21)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 04:30:41 PM EST
    but a sword."