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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Judge orders detainee's release

July 31, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A federal judge ruled that one of the youngest detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is being held illegally and must be released -- 6 1/2 years after he says he was tortured into confessing at age 12.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle's order does not end the case of Mohammed Jawad, however. Deputy Assistant Atty. Gen. Ian Gershengorn told the judge that as the State Department negotiates with Afghanistan to return him to his home country, the Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation.

Gershengorn said Atty. Gen. Eric Holder had not decided whether to indict Jawad, accused of throwing a grenade that wounded two U.S. soldiers and an interpreter in 2002.

Jawad's age is uncertain because he was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan and there are no records of his birth. He says he was about 12 when he was arrested in December 2002, but the Pentagon says a bone scan shows he was about 17.

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