For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 7, 2005
Aziz Huq, 212 992–8632
Jonathan Hafetz, 212 998–6289
Court Steps In To Block US Citizens Transfer to Torture
New York, NY Last Friday, February 3, 2006, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., issued an order barring the U.S. Government from transferring an American citizen, Shawqi Omar, to Iraqi authorities where he would be at grave risk of torture. Judge Urbina issued this emergency order last week to stop Mr. Omars possible midnight transfer to Iraqi hands and has asked for further briefing about the pivotal Separation of Powers issues raised by the case.
Judge Urbinas emergency order is a result of a lawsuit filed in December 2005 by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, with the Philadelphia law firm Burke Pyle LLC and the MacArthur Center for Justice at the University of Chicago Law School. This suit was brought on behalf of Mr. Shawqi Omar by his wife and son, both American citizens, because the Government has stopped Mr. Omar accessing U.S. courts himself. It challenges Mr. Omars prolonged military detention since his arrest at his home in Baghdad in October 2004.
In his order, Judge Urbina directed parties to submit additional legal papers addressing the major constitutional implications of prohibiting Mr. Omars transfer to Iraqi custody. Judge Urbina will then decide whether to keep his emergency order in effect.
For more information about this case, please contact:
Aziz Huq at 212 992–8632, or Jonathan Hafetz, 212 998–6289.