WASHINGTON June 7, 2018 – The American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency request tonight asking a federal district court to block the Trump administration’s plan to transport an American citizen to Syria, where his life would be in danger, and abandon him there. The man has been held by the U.S. military in Iraq since September.
Oral arguments on the request for a temporary restraining order will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m. in federal district court in Washington.
These latest developments come after the government notified the court last night of its plans, which it said it would not carry out for at least 72 hours, to release the American citizen to Syria without any assurances of protection and without identification.
In its filing, the ACLU argues that the government’s plan amounts to a ‘death sentence’ and calls on the court to ensure the safe release of its client. Emphasizing the unusual nature of the notice and the danger it poses, the filing adds that the Trump administration does not deport Syrians from the U.S. to Syria because, in the words of the Department of Homeland Security, doing so “would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.”
“In April, the government tried to transfer the American to the custody of another government against his will. We successfully argued in both the district court and appeals court that such a forcible transfer would violate his constitutional rights,” said ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz in a blog post ahead of the hearing. “Now our fight for our client’s right to due process has also become a fight for his right to life. This American deserves to be set free — but not like this.”
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The ACLU’s latest filing can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/doe-v-mattis-aclu-application-temporary-restraining-order-bar-release-syria.
ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz’s declaration can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/aclu-v-mattis-declaration-jonathan-hafetz.
The ACLU’s memo in support of application for temporary restraining order barring transfer to Syria can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/doe-v-mattis-aclu-memo-support-application-temporary-restraining-order-barring.
More information on the case is available here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/doe-v-mattis-challenge-detention-american-us-military-abroad.