(CN) – Two weeks after a federal judge ordered legal representation for a U.S. citizen being detained without charge on Iraqi soil, that unidentified man filed court papers Friday indicating that he will sue for his release.
Filed with U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, the 4-page document reveals that John Doe, as he is identified, wishes to proceed with a habeas corpus action and wants to be represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Petitioner seeks to exercise his right to ‘a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate’ that his detention is unlawful,” the filing states.
American armed forces picked up on the man roughly four months ago on suspicion that he had been fighting for the Islamic State group in Syria.
On Dec. 23, Judge Chutkan ordered U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to provide Doe with “immediate and unmonitored access” to counsel.
In its filing Friday meanwhile the ACLU invoked the nearly 340-year history of habeas corpus, saying the military “should not be permitted to deny petitioner that fundamental right by forcibly transferring him beyond the reach of this court.”
Jonathan Hafetz with the ACLU said Judge Chutkan’s earlier ruling paves the way for further relief.
“The Trump administration illegally denied an American his rights to access a lawyer and a court for nearly four months, but those efforts have finally failed,” Hafetz said in a statement. “Now that our client has secured the judicial review that the government attempted to block, he looks forward to establishing the illegality of his detention.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice noted that “the court has given the government until 5 p.m. Monday to file a response.”
"We are reviewing the filing,” spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said in an email.
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