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Mohamed Jawad
Mohamed Jawad -- three months before capture.jpg
Mohamed Jawad—three months before capture.[1] DoD records state that he was 64 inches tall and weighed 119 pounds when he arrived at Guantanamo.[2 ]
Arrested December 2003
Afghanistan
by Afghan police
Citizenship Afghan
Detained at Bagram, Guantanamo
Alternate name Amir Khan, Mir Jan
ISN 900[3][4 ][5 ][6][7 ][8 ][9][10 ][11 ]
Charge(s) Attempted murder
Status release ordered following habeas

Born in Miran Shah, Pakistan, Mohamed Jawad (also Amir Khan, Mir Jan, Sakheb Badsha[12][13 ]) was accused of attempted murder before a Guantanamo military commission on charges that he threw a grenade at a passing American convoy on December 17, 2002.

Jawad's family says that he was 12-years old at the time of his detention in 2002. The Pentagon maintains that a bone scan showed he was about 17 when taken into custody.[14]

He does not face any accusations of terrorism.[15]

Jawad insists that he had been hired to help remove landmines from the wartorn region, and that a colleague had thrown the grenade. He has been held in extrajudicial detention at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility and Guantanamo Bay detainment camps for the past five years.[3][16] His Internment Serial Number was 900.[17]

Jawad had been among those who announced they would boycott the tribunals,[18] but attended the beginning of his trial in May 2008.[19]

Eventually, the tribunal judge ruled that Jawad's alleged confession to throwing a grenade was inadmissible since it had been obtained through coercion after Afghan authorities beat him and threatened to kill his family.[20][21]. He was ordered released after a successful petition for a writ of habeas corpus before Judge Ellen Huevelle of the DC District Court on July 30, 2009.[22] On August 24, 2009 he was transported from Guantanamo Bay to Afghanistan[21].

Contents

Age

On May 27, 2009, Sayed Salahuddin, writing for Reuters, reported that Afghan human rights workers claimed Jawad was significantly younger when he was captured than the 16 or 17 years old the Department of Defense has claimed.[23] The human rights workers claimed he was only 12 years old.

Like many Afghans, Mohammed Jawad has no official record of his birth, and doesn't know his exact age.[23] Human rights workers trying to more clearly establish a reliable estimate of his birth date were told by his mother that he was born six months after his father was killed during a battle near Khost in 1991. In an English language Al Jazeera broadcast one of his uncles said he was born four months after the battle where his father was killed, which he said occurred in 1990.[1]

Guantanamo spokesman Jeffrey D. Gordon disputed the human rights workers' claims, referring to bone scans performed when Jawad arrived at Guantanamo, which he asserted established he was eighteen when he arrived at Guantanamo.[23]

Background

Jawad's father was killed in a battle in Khost called Battle for Hill 3234 in January, 1988, and he continued to live with his mother in an Afghan refugee camp in Miran Shah, Pakistan.[14]

Jawad was studying at a sixth or seventh-grade level at a school the United States later described as "Jihadi".[24 ][25] When his mother re-married, his new stepfather kicked him out of the house.[15]

Several years later, he was approached by four or six men at Qari Mosque in his hometown. They asked if he would be willing to take a lucrative job in Kabul, Afghanistan where recent government attention had been called to the need to remove landmines,[26] and help clear Soviet-era mines from the region for a promised 12,000 Pakistani Rupees.[24 ]

Jawad agreed, but said he would first need to secure the permission of his mother. The men told him to tell his family he had found a job across the border, but not to mention the details lest they worry about his safety. Some of his relatives tried to discourage him, saying he was too young for a job, but since his mother wasn't present, he decided to accompany the men.[24 ]

Attack and capture

A white Soviet UAZ jeep,[16] driven by Sergeant first class Michael Lyons with Sergeant first class Christopher Martin in the passenger seat and Afghan interpreter Assadullah Khan Omerk[12] in the rear, had just finished an operation in the marketplace and was stopped in traffic, when somebody tossed a homemade grenade through the jeep's missing rear window.[27]

Both soldiers from the 19th Special Forces were wounded, Lyons in the eye and both feet, and puncturing an eardrum, while Martin escaped with less serious injuries to his right knee, and the Afghan interpreter suffered only minor injuries.[16][28][29][30]

Four American Humvees cordoned off the site of the attack, and Afghan police near the area arrested three men, holding Jawad and Ghulam Saki, while releasing a third suspect. A police officer said that he had seen one throw the grenade, and the other tackled by a fruit vendor as he prepared to throw a second.[30] Jawad would later tell his tribunal that he had been handed devices he didn't recognise by the men with him, and told to put them in his pocket and wait for their return. When he went into his pocket to purchase raisins from a shopkeeper, he was asked why he had a "bomb" in his pocket - and the shopkeeper advised him to run and throw the two grenades in the river. It was while running toward the river, yelling at people to move aside because he had a bomb, that Jawad alleges he was "caught".[25]

In an October 2009 interview Jawad asserted that his nose was broken during his very first interrogation.[31]

Imprisonment at Bagram

Imprisonment at Guantanamo

Jawad tried to kill himself in December 2003.[15][32]

In May 2004, two months after the military announced that it had ceased its "Frequent Flier" program of sleep deprivation by forcing detainees to shift cells every 2–4 hours, Jawad was given the same treatment, being woken up every 2 hours and 55 minutes, and moved to a new cell; which happened 112 times.[15]

His 22nd interrogation was held in September 2004.[15]

Combatant Status Review

The George W. Bush administration asserted that the protections of the Geneva Conventions could be withheld from captives in the "War on Terror."[33] Critics argued the Conventions obliged the United States to conduct competent tribunals to determine the status of prisoners. Subsequently, the US Department of Defense instituted Combatant Status Review Tribunals, to determine whether the captives met the new definition of an "enemy combatant."

The CSRTs are not bound by the rules of evidence that would apply in civilian court, and the government’s evidence is presumed to be “genuine and accurate.”[34] From July 2004 through March 2005, a CSRT was convened to make a determination whether each captive had been correctly classified as an "enemy combatant". Mohamed Jawad was among the two-thirds of prisoners who chose to participate in tribunal hearings.[35]

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for the tribunal, listing the alleged facts that led to his detention. His memo accused him of the following:

[36]

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared on October 19, 2004. In addition to mentioning his recruitment to help remove Soviet-era minefields in Kabul, the memo also introduced allegations that Jawad had ties to Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, and that his school was named "Jihadi". The memo also said that Jawad "received instruction" on AK-47s, RPGs and grenades, and told an unnamed "terrorist organization associate" that he would fight Northern Alliance and American forces.[4 ]

The memo was released in March 2005, although it redacted his place of birth. The subsequent September 2007 release of the memo did not redact it.[24 ]

Jawad expressed confusion about the purpose of the Tribunal. When his Tribunal's President asked him if he understood the Tribunal procedure he responded that it was supposed to determine if he was a criminal. His Tribunal's President tried to explain that the Tribunal was not concerned with whether he was a criminal, but rather was supposed to determine whether he was an "enemy combatant". Nevertheless, Jawad continued the tribunal explaining that he was not a criminal.

Jawad described being approached by a man at the mosque who invited him to take a job clearing mines. Jawad told his Tribunal that he told the man he wanted his mother's permission before he took the job. The man told him to tell his family he had accepted a job in Afghanistan, but not to worry them by telling them he was going to be clearing mines. Various family members told him he was too young to take a job. His mother had left to visit relatives, so he left for Afghanistan without her permission. Jawad testified that when he arrived in Afghanistan he was given a Hezb-e-Islami ID card. He testified that he was made to take pills that left him sleepy and disoriented. He also testified: "The men gave me injections in the leg and I hallucinated about many things, like my nose coming off and giving my ear to people."

Jawad testified that he was taught how to throw grenades, that a mine went off near him, but he wasn't injured.

According to Jawad that staff at the camp where he was trained were known by numbers, not names.

Jawad told his Tribunal that the staff members gave him orange gum, chocolate candy, and a tablet that made him go out of his mind.

Jawad's Personal Representative tried to repeat to his Tribunal the account he recorded of Jawad, "number thirty-nine", "number forty-two" another trainee named Nadir and himself traveling to Khowst. Jawad's Personal Representative's account included Jawad being given some bombs. Then "something happened", everyone was running. Then he got arrested, taken to Bagram, and finally to Guantanamo.

While the Personal Representative tried to repeat the account he recorded Jawad kept interrupting him with corrections.

Jawad said he didn't know whether Nadir, "number 38" and "number 42" were arrested at the same time he was. He was told they were. He was told they weren't. And he was told they were killed.

Jawad's transcript does not record the Tribunal members asking him any questions.

Administrative Review Board

Captives whose CSRT labelled them "enemy combatants" were scheduled for annual Administrative Review Board hearings. These hearings were designed to judge whether the captive still posed a threat if repatriated to their home country.[37]

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First annual Administrative Review Board hearing

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for his first annual Administrative Review Board on November 7, 2005.[5 ]

At his first ARB, Jawad was accused of meeting a single individual at his shop in October 2002 who offered him money to kill Americans. Two months later it says that he was attending Qurey Mosque in Miran Shah and met four people who offered him 12,000 Rupees in exchange for helping to clear a minefield. It states that he trained with Hezb-I-Islami Gulbuddin for a day and a half in Khost, after being given given injections in his right leg and two pills. It says he was then trained to use "AK-47s, rocket launchers, machine guns, and hand grenades". It said that Jawad had previously stated that although he was not originally supposed to be the one to throw the grenade, it had been handed to him at the last second and he thus threw it.

It also cited Jawad's interrogation by the Afghan police, where he allegedly put his thumbprint and signature to a confession that said he had trained in the caves of Afghanistan, had told his associates that he was willing to kill people, had agreed to kill Americans in exchange for extra money, and that he was proud to have done it.[5 ]

Given the opportunity for a spoken statement, Jawad said that he was confused by the accusation that he met a recruiter at his shop, since he never owned a shop. He agreed that he had attended the Qurey Mosque, but said he had never attended a "Jihadi Madrassa" or any other religious school. He also stated that the militants who recruited him had no connection to Hezb-I-Islami, and he had never received any training on how to throw grenades. He also said that he had specifically told his interrogators that he "was the person who did not throw the grenade.", and that the only time he had said otherwise was under torture by the Afghan police who threatened to kill him if didn't confess.

This marked the first time that his Assisting Military Officer heard anything about alleged abuse, and prompted the Presiding Officer to ask whether the new claim triggered mandatory responses. Jawad was questioned about the interrogation and confession, and confirmed that he had been tortured by Afghans, not American forces. He also said that he couldn't have put his signature on the confession since he lacked a signature.

Jawad reiterated his claim that he was in the market with his associates, but that he had not been the one to throw the grenade. He said he didn't know the attacker personally, but would recognise his face if he saw him again. He was interrupted while explaining how he had been recruited, to be told that the panel had already heard that part of the story from him, and he subsequently refused to continue his oral statement.

Jawad's Assisting Military Officer met with him on December 6, 2005 for 45 minutes for a pre-hearing interview. His Assisting Military Officer reported that he was "very cordial, attentive, and was well informed about the ARB's purpose and procedures.

Second annual Administrative Review Board hearing

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for his second annual Administrative Review Board on October 26, 2006, for which there was no indication that Jawad chose to take part.[13 ] The new accusations changed the accusation that he had been seen "in Jihadi Madrassa", to state that an unnamed "source" had reported seeing him "in jihadi Madrassas". It removed the reference to Jawad allegedly meeting a recruiter in his shop, and the wording about which of the two associates had thrown the grenade was made less clear, but argued that Afghan police believed there was only one suspect in the attack, despite three people originally being arrested at the scene. This ARB also added a note claiming Jawad had been caught with "approximately four grenades".[13 ]

It again quoted Jawad's interrogation by the Afghan police, but added a phrase stating that he had confessed to having foreknowledge of the September 11th attacks.[13 ]

Guantanamo Medical records

On 16 March 2007 the Department of Defense published medical records for the captives.[2 ][38 ] All but twelve of the captive's medical records recorded their height, weight, and their "inprocess date". Jawad is one of the captives whose "inprocess date" is missing. He does have an "inprocess weight" recorded—119 pounds. According to those records Jawad was 64 inches tall. According to those records his weight was recorded 25 times between December 18, 2002, and November 26, 2006. According to those records he was weighed once in 2003, on August 11, when he weighed 124 pounds. According to those records in January 2004 Guantanamo medical authorities started trying to record his weight once a month, but that he refused to be weighed in June, July and December 2004, and January, February, and March 2005. According to those records no attempt to record his weight was made for six months during the height of the camp's longest and most widespread hunger strike, on October, November, and December 2005, and January, February and March 2006. His weights in 2004 ranged from 118 to 143 pounds. His weights in 2005 ranged from 140 to 150 pounds. His weights in 2006 ranged from 142.4 to 160 pounds.

The grenade attack Jawad was charged with occurred on December 17, 2002. He spent several weeks in Afghan custody, prior to being sent to Bagram. So it is unclear how he could have been weighed in Guantanamo on December 18, 2002.

Faces charges before a Guantanamo military commission

David Frakt.

On Thursday October 11, 2007, Jawad because the eleventh Guantanamo charges before a Guantanamo military commission, and was the first person to face charges following the Supreme Court's ruling that the ten former tribunals were unconstitutional, ushering in the Military Commissions Act of 2006..[39 ][40][40][41 ][41 ][42] He was charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of committing serious bodily harm.[12]

His defence attorney, Major David Frakt has filed motions calling for a mental health evaluation of Jawad, and seeking the dismissal of charges based on the interrogation techniques used against him, and the "unlawful influence on the prosecution" by Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann, who had been suspended from participating in other tribunals following similar complaints.[15][43]

On August 14, 2008 the Commission's Presiding Officer Colonel Stephen Henley barred Hartmann from future participation in Jawad's commission.[44]

On July 28, 2009 Frakt filed a motion in Mohammed's military commission following US District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle ruling he was a noncombatant.[45] He argued that the military commissions were only authorized to try illegal enemy combatants, and since he was officially a noncombatant his military commission lacked jurisdiction.

On August 4, 2009 Daphne Eviatar, writing in the Washington Independent, reported that Jawad's Defense team claimed the new witnesses statements the Department of Justice claimed to have were given cash and gifts in return for their witness statements.[46 ][47 ] She quoted from emails from Major Eric Montalvo, who had "spoken with all the government's star witnesses", and listed the reasons for his concerns.[48 ] She quoted from Frakt who said the witnesses were unembarrassed about describing receiving cash and gifts in return for their testimony. Frakt described the witnesses inviting the Defense attorneys to outbid the Prosecution for favorable testimony.

On August 24, 2009, Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald wrote about Jawad's case that: "His case gained prominence when the Pentagon's legal advisor for military commissions, Air Force Brig. General Thomas Hartmann, found his file among those being considered for war crimes prosecution and propelled it to the top of the pile, in part because there were victims who could testify -- former, wounded reserve soldiers back in California."[49][50 ]

Experienced the "frequent flyer" program

On August 7, 2008 the Washington Post reported that the Guantanamo guards defied their orders to discontinue the illegal practice of arbitrarily moving captives multiple times a day to deprive them of sleep.[51] The report stated that Mohammed Jawad had routinely been subjected to this practice, which the guards called the "frequent flyer program".

Jawad's lawyer, Major David Frakt, USAF, said:[51]

"...no one actually knows the full scope of the abuses at Guantanamo" and that "all of these allegedly comprehensive investigations were whitewashes. This is only the tip of the iceberg. This program was approved at the highest levels. . . . It suggests that people had simply lost their ability to distinguish right from wrong."

Release order and possible trial in a civilian court

US District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle was the judge assigned to weigh Jawad's habeas corpus petition.[52][53][54][55] On July 17, 2009 Huvelle ruled that the Jawad's confessions were coerced, and thus inadmissible. She gave the Department of Justice a deadline of July 24, 2009 to produce another justification for holding Jawad as an enemy combatant. On July 24 the Department of Justice acknowledged it lacked the evidence necessary to justify holding Jawad as an enemy combatant.

According to Reuters the Department of Defensee announced it was "taking steps to house" Jawad at an "appropriate facility" in Guantanamo.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has said that he has ordered a new criminal investigation.[53][56] The Justice Department said the new investigation is examining videotapes of eyewitness testimony that was not previously available. The new investigation could result in new criminal charges in a civilian court on US soil.

On July 28, 2009 Huvelle gave the Department of Justice 24 hours to justify continuing to hold him so it could conduct an "expedited criminal investigation, scheduling a hearing for July 30, 2009.[57]

On 29 July 2009 BBC News reported that he would be released because "there was no military case for Mr Jawad's continued detention."[58]

Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, reported on July 28, 2009 that Mohammed Jawad has been transferred to Camp Iguana.[45] David Frakt told Rosenberg that one of his co-counsels had recently visited Mohammed in Camp Iguana. "He's adjusting to his new environment, learning to play the Wii and getting caught up on Afghan cricket and soccer scores. He's pleased but bewildered by the legal developments. Yet again he's won, but he's still there."

Repatriation

Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, reports that Jawad was repatriated on August 24, 2009.[49] Jawad was first sent to the Pul-e-Charkhi prison, a former Soviet facility, where the United States built an American wing in 2007.

Major Eric Montalvo, a former Defense counsel, said that Jawad was scheduled to meet with President Hamid Karzai, and would then be released into the custody of an uncle, Haji Gul Naik.[49] Montalvo who had flown to Afghanistan at his own expense because the Department of Defense would not authorize him to help aid Jawad arrival, said: "It's still not over until he can walk free, but he is almost there. I don't trust anything until I see him in his house with his family."

In an article published on October 15, 2009 Jawad was quoted.[31] Regarding the current conflict in Afghanistan Jawad said: “The situation will get worse because it’s impossible to finish fighting with fighting. It’s impossible to clean blood with blood.” Regarding the detention facilities at Guantanamo and Bagram Jawad said: “The people who are in these two jails are all Muslims. The Americans are not respecting their religion and they are not respecting them as humans.”

See also

References

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  17. ^ http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/900-mohamed-jawad
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  20. ^ Ottawa Citizen, Judge rejects forced confession, November 22, 2008
  21. ^ a b [1]
  22. ^ http://washingtonindependent.com/53264/jawad-could-be-on-his-way-home-in-three-weeks
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  25. ^ a b Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Mohamed Jawad's Administrative Review Board hearing - page 131
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  37. ^ Book, Spc. Timothy. The Wire (JTF-GTMO Public Affairs Office), "Review process unprecedented", March 10, 2006
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