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.
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