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Guantanamo Bay – U.S. proposes releasing Guantanamo detainee abroad


Guantanamo Bay – U.S. proposes releasing Guantanamo detainee abroad

Guantanamo Bay, The Obama administration on Wednesday proposed sending one of the youngest prisoners held at the controversial U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay back to Afghanistan where his lawyer said he would likely go free.

Afghanistan has requested that Mohammed Jawad — accused of throwing a grenade that wounded two American soldiers and their Afghan interpreter in Kabul in late 2002 — be returned to his country and even offered to send a plane for him.

In the latest effort to close the controversial detention facility, U.S. government lawyers filed a plan with a U.S. court that would release Jawad from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to the custody of a foreign government in about three weeks.

“They came to the same conclusion that everyone else came to, that he’s innocent,” one of Jawad’s military lawyers, Major David Frakt told Reuters, adding that his client would be sent to his home country.

“I’m very pleased that the Obama administration is finally starting to restore the rule of law to detention operations.”

The United States had previously sought to try Jawad in a military trial but the judge threw out most of the evidence and a U.S. district court judge also tossed out all of his statements because they were obtained through torture.

But just last week, the Justice Department said it was now investigating whether a criminal case was possible against Jawad — a move that could lead to charges before or after he is released.

“Department prosecutors are investigating whether they can make a criminal case,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler.

Congress has been wary of President Barack Obama’s plan to close the detention facility by January 2010, and set strict limits on moving detainees until certain conditions are met. Those included informing lawmakers first and spelling out any threats prisoners could pose or how they were mitigated.


The Justice Department asked the court for seven days to submit the necessary paperwork to Congress and then another 15 days to release Jawad from detention into the custody of another government.

Jawad’s lawyer said that would be Afghanistan and that he expected his client to go free once there.

“The Afghan government has told us that they believe he has suffered enough and they don’t have any plans to prosecute him,” said Frakt. Jawad has been held for nearly seven years.

Part of the dispute in the case has been Jawad’s age. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has said he was about 12 when he was arrested in 2002 but the Pentagon disputes that and has said bone scans indicated he had turned 18 when he was sent to Guantanamo in early 2003.

The Afghan government has repeatedly requested Jawad’s return and told his lawyers that they would pay for a plane to pick him up, an offer the administration rejected.

A court hearing is set for Thursday to discuss the administration’s proposal with the judge overseeing the case.

There are 229 detainees still held at the controversial prison, which was opened in 2002 to house terrorism suspects captured in the U.S. war on terrorism that was launched after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

In a separate court action on Wednesday, a U.S. judge ordered the release of another detainee held at the Guantanamo prison, Khaled Al-Mutairi from Kuwait.

The administration expects to finish sorting through the cases by Oct. 1. It has already approved the transfer of more than 50 detainees, though the White House has found it hard to find places to send them.

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Prosecutors to resume their case in Hosni Mubarak’s trial

 Cairo (CNN) — Prosecutors are scheduled to continue their case Wednesday in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is accused of ordering protesters killed during the country’s uprising last year.

The former president also faces corruption charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors started presenting their case Tuesday with their opening statements.
“Mubarak is a tyrant who aimed to hand the rule to his younger son Gamal, who promoted corruption in Egypt, allowing his friends and relatives to destroy the country without accountability,” Suleiman told the court, according to Khaled Abu Bakr, a civil rights lawyer involved in the trial.
As during his previous appearances, Mubarak was wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher, with a green blanket draped over him.
After hearing Suleiman speak for an hour Tuesday, the judge adjourned the court until Wednesday.
Abu Bakr said he expected a verdict “before January 25, the anniversary of the revolution,” referring to the beginning of the uprising that ended Mubarak’s 30-year rule in February.
Many Egyptians are critical of the court proceedings and some worry that Mubarak may be acquitted of the murder charges. Five police officers accused of killing protesters were acquitted last week.
Mubarak’s health has been in question since his detention began in April after reports of his cancer and heart problems surfaced in the media.
Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib El Adly, six of his aides and two of Mubarak’s sons are also on trial on a variety of charges.Sons Gamal and Alaa have also pleaded not guilty.

About 840 people died and more than 6,000 were wounded in the 18 days of uprising that toppled Mubarak, according to Amnesty International.

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Prosecutors claim evangelist ‘married’ 8-year-old

Evangelist child Abuse

Prosecutors claim evangelist ‘married’ 8-year-old

TEXARKANA, Ark. – Evangelist Tony Alamo preyed on his loyal followers’ young daughters, once taking a girl as young as 8 as his bride and repeatedly sexually assaulting her, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes said that girl’s story and others unwound an “elaborate facade” Alamo wove around himself. Lawyers for the 74-year-old Alamo, who is charged with taking underage girls across state lines for sex, argued that the alleged victims traveled across the country to further the outreach and business interests of a “bona fide religious group” that the government targeted out of its own prejudices.

U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes swore in a jury of nine men and three women on Tuesday. They include a jobless personnel employee, a worker for a local construction company and an airport finance director who lives in Fouke, the location of Alamo’s 15-acre complex that authorities raided Sept. 20.

Fowlkes told jurors that a 15-year-old girl who left the Alamo ministries in 2006 told the FBI that Alamo married her at age 8. The girl told agents Alamo exchanged wedding vows and rings with her and first sexually assaulted her before she turned 10, Fowlkes said.

Alamo summoned another 15-year-old girl to his home in 1994 by telephone, authorities said, then telling her parents that God instructed him to marry her. Fowlkes said the parents consented and Alamo repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl, taking her on trips to West Virginia and Tennessee as he prepared for a trial on federal tax-evasion charges.

Another similar call came in 1998, when Alamo married a 14-year-old girl, Fowlkes said. In 2002, Alamo summoned three underage girls into his bedroom and shut the door, telling them God wanted him to marry two of them, Fowlkes said. Alamo later sexually assaulted two of those girls he married, one 11, the other 14, the prosecutor said.

Those girls also traveled on Alamo’s orders to other states, Fowlkes said.

One of those girl’s parents encouraged her to marry Alamo, saying his home had access to better food, television privileges, movies and a swimming pool, Fowlkes said. But the evangelist controlled every aspect of the girls’ lives from what they ate to who spoke with them, the prosecutor said.

“When the FBI began to pull on that thread, it began to unravel the elaborate facade the defendant had carefully woven around himself,” Fowlkes said.

Don Ervin, who is leading Alamo’s defense team, told jurors to focus on the facts. He said all the girls’ travel came as part of the ministry’s efforts to give people “decent lives for themselves.”

“This investigation, this prosecution was fueled by prejudice the government and law enforcement have against Tony Alamo’s church because of its practices,” Ervin said.

A federal judge revoked the tax-exempt status for Alamo’s ministries in the 1980s after investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Labor Department. After the hearing, Ervin said the government couldn’t decide what represented a real church.

“They’ve done a lot of good for people,” Ervin said. “The IRS doesn’t control who is a bona fide church, they just control who has to pay taxes and who doesn’t.”

Alamo, whose ministry grew into a multimillion industry on the backs of his followers, was convicted of tax evasion charges in 1994. He served four years in prison after the IRS said he owed the government $7.9 million. The evangelist has blamed the recent charges against him as the work of a Vatican-led conspiracy.

In 1991, Alamo was acquitted of threatening a federal judge — a case that fueled an extraordinary increase in security efforts for Alamo’s current trial. Uniformed U.S. Homeland Security officers walked outside around the courthouse, while U.S. marshals filled the hallways and manned two metal detectors.

Alamo, gaunt and pale, sat quietly for much of the hearing, wearing a grey suit and dark sunglasses. He could be heard correcting his lawyer’s summary of the ministry’s history during opening arguments.

Alamo faces a 10-count federal indictment. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. He remains held without bond until the end of his trial, scheduled to last two weeks.

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