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DC Circuit Court To Decide Whether Government Can Hand Over U.S. Citizen To Iraq

February 16, 2007

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2007

Susan Lehman, Brennan Center for Justice, 212.998.6318
Mike Webb, Brennan Center for Justice, 212.998.6746

DC Circuit Court To Decide Whether Government Can Hand Over U.S. Citizen To Iraq

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments to determine whether the United States military can hand a U.S. citizen over to the Iraqi justice system where he will likely be tortured to death.

The case, which was brought by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Macarthur Justice Center at Northwestern Law School, involves a U.S. citizen who has been detained in U.S. custody since May 2005. 

A U.S. citizen, Mr. Munaf traveled to Iraq in March 2005 at the request of three Romanian journalists to serve as their guide and translator. Munaf and the journalists were kidnapped, held for fifty-five days, and upon his release he was arrested by U.S. forces. After the Brennan Center and the Macarthur Justice Center filed a habeas petition for his release, Mr. Munaf was charged criminally by an Iraqi court, convicted of having a hand in the kidnapping, and sentenced to death.

Joe Marguiles for the Macarthur Justice Center argued the case for Mr. Munaf.

The United States has said time and again that the Iraqi justice system falls far short, explained Aziz Huq, director of the Brennan Centers Liberty and National Security Project and co-counsel on the case. It should not be in the business of transferring its own citizens for likely torture and death, nor should it hold citizens captive without filing formal charges against them.”