Afghan
October 26, 2012

Mohammed Jawad, a 23-year-old Afghan, was taken into US custody when he was somewhere between the ages of 12 to 17 (he does not know his birthday and his relatives have given conflicting accounts). He was charged with attempted murder in violation of the laws of war and intentionally causing serious bodily injury. The US government alleged that while in Afghanistan in 2002 he threw a grenade at a military vehicle, injuring two US soldiers and their interpreter. Both the prosecution and defense in his case allege that Jawad was likely drugged at the time of the alleged offense.
 
Like the case of Omar Khadr, the US ignored Jawad's juvenile status at the time of his alleged offense. Whereas other children detained at Guantanamo were given special housing and education programs, and were eventually released to rehabilitation programs in Afghanistan, Jawad was housed with adults, not provided any rehabilitation assistance, and was held for over six years prior to being charged, contrary to international standards on the treatment of children in detention.
 
Jawad told a panel of US military officers that he falsely confessed after being beaten and tortured by Afghan police when first taken into custody in 2002. A military judge at Guantanamo ruled that none of the statements Jawad provided to Afghan authorities would be admitted into evidence at the military commissions because Jawad had been tortured.
 
In September 2008, the lead prosecutor in the case against Jawad, Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, resigned, stating that the US government failed to honor its obligations in treatment of child soldiers, and that he had "ethical qualms" about the government's failure to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence. He testified at the appellate court, stating that he believed Jawad was innocent, posed no threat to the United States or its allies, and that he should be rehabilitated and sent home to Afghanistan.
 
A federal judge ordered Jawad's release in July 2009 following his habeas challenge, and he was repatriated to Afghanistan in August. He says he plans to sue the US government for wrongful detention. 
 
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