An American Islamic State militant that was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces last year and is currently being held in Iraq by the United States military. He has a dual U.S./Saudi Arabian citizenship but will most likely not face a trial stateside. Court documents that had previously been redacted were unsealed this week disclosing that the man known as “John Doe” may be transferred to Iraqi or Saudi Arabian authorities to face trial there. The documents revealed that the ISIS member was captured in Syria last year with over 10,000 photos, some of the files contained military manuals and explosive how-to instructions for IEDs.
The American Civil Liberties Union claims the man traveled to Syria for journalism purposes and was attempting to escape the violence when he turned himself into the SDF however, according to the FBI, he has not published any works thus far. Jonathan Hafetz, an ACLU attorney, said, “The Trump administration has been detaining this American citizen unlawfully for more than seven months, and forcibly rendering him to another country would be an unconscionable violation of his constitutional rights. He should either be charged or freed, not handed over to an unnamed foreign government.”
Currently the United States government is holding him as a lawful enemy combatant. U.S. government attorney, James Burnham, in April said, “We made a good faith determination that he is an enemy combatant.” It is becoming apparent that the current presidential administration wishes to exclude men like this from the United States legal system. The benefits of this is that not only will it save the United States man power and tax dollars but captured ISIS fighters will certainly face much harsher punishment in foreign legal systems. The ministry of Justice for Iraq has said it will be, “moving forward with implementing the sentences,” despite external persuasion.
According to a study done by National Public Radio, around 300 American citizens attempted to join the Islamic State or affiliated organization in Syria and Iraq during the course of the ISIS conflict. Only 12 have returned to the United States. A large number of Islamic State POW’s are being held in Syria and Iraq by coalition allied forces as well. So far, Iraq’s Ministry of Justice has executed 11 men on terrorism charges this month. In September last year, they executed 42 Islamic State affiliates which caught the attention of the United Nations but never went anywhere beyond their lambasting.