US Plans to Release American Captured in Syria in September

The Trump administration is scrambling for ways to get off its hands an unnamed U.S. citizen accused of fighting for ISI

US Plans to Release American Captured in Syria in September

At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan asked both sides for more information.

'What the government is offering our client is no release - it's a death warrant.

The Trump administration submitted a notice Wednesday to a federal court in Washington saying it had determined it would release the man, who has been held without charge in a US military detention facility in Iraq since he surrendered on the Syrian battlefield in September. The department notified the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the man, of its intent and the man "would not agree to the release" as described, the government wrote.

He was reportedly assigned to be a fighter in the Zarqawi Brigade, a military unit that "guard [ed] the front lines" in Syria, where he procured fuel for ISIS vehicles, handled expenses and "performed other administrative tasks". Hamdi eventually was sent to Saudi Arabia after he renounced his US citizenship.

The man, who has not been named publically, grew up in Saudi Arabia and has dual U.S. -Saudi citizenship.

Instead, the government announced plans in April to transfer the man, against his will, to a third country that was not publicly identified.

The ACLU says that the detainee is being held illegally, and has been fighting for his release and repatriation since September. She asked what authority she had to "second-guess" the government's decision.

The plan is to give him food and water "for several days", a new cellphone, and the $4,210 he was originally captured with, but no identification, and leave him on his own in northeastern Syria where the SDF dominate.

"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. This is a disgraceful way to treat an American citizen.

The government has said in court filings that the man was born in the United States but raised in Saudi Arabia.

Now, according to a court filing issued on Wednesday, the detainee will be released in an unspecified Syrian town or internally displaced person camp.

Iraqi military forces launched air strikes on Islamic state in Syria.

The prisoner "did not identify a preference between the two locations and would not agree to the release" under those conditions, the Justice Department noted, adding that the Pentagon had made a decision to discharge him in the town "no sooner than 72 hours hence". He was captured in September 2017 by Syrian Democratic Forces troops at a checkpoint in Syria, at which point he declared that he was an American.

The filing includes assurances from the government that the group has committed to "respect human rights and the rule of law" and has acted consistently with those commitments.

Last month, in a victory for the detainee, a federal appeals court ruled that the USA could not "forcibly transfer" him to a third-party country such as Saudi Arabia, where he has dual citizenship, without proving to a court that he had fought for the enemy.

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