Federal Judge Orders Release of Young Gitmo Detainee

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered the release of a Guantanamo detainee who may have been as young as 12 at the time of his arrest.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle said the government should release detainee Mohammed Jawad within three weeks, enough time to filed required reports with Congress on any security risks and diplomatic agreements for his release, the Associated Press reports.

Jawad claimed he confessed to attacking U.S. troops with a grenade because of threats to his family. His habeas suit contesting his confinement claimed he was tortured and has post-traumatic stress disorder. Jawad claimed he was 12 when he was arrested in Afghanistan in December 2002, but the U.S. government says a bone scan put his age at about 17, according to AP.

Last week the Justice Department dropped its contention that Jawad should continue to be held as a detainee, the Washington Post reports. However, the government is considering whether to file criminal charges against Jawad and try him in a civilian court.

Huvelle said she didn’t have the authority to bar criminal charges, but encouraged the government to think about problems with the case. “I hope the government will succeed in getting him back to Afghanistan,” she said.

Prior coverage: “How a Military Prosecutor Changed From Gung Ho Terrorism Fighter to Gitmo Critic” “Ex-Military Prosecutor Tells of Chaotic Evidence System at Gitmo” “Citing Torture, Judge Tosses Gitmo Detainee’s Confession” “Gitmo Prosecutor Quits, Citing ‘Ethical Qualms’ Over Withheld Evidence”

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