The Obama administration wants to hold onto a young Guantanamo Bay detainee three weeks longer while it tries to decide whether to send him home to Afghanistan or bring him to the US for trial -- and prevent an angry judge from deciding his fate instead.
Government attorneys said in court filings yesterday that they were prepared to release Mohammed Jawad from detention at the US naval facility in Cuba. He's been held there for 6 1/2 years since being arrested for allegedly wounding two US soldiers and their interpreter by throwing a grenade at their jeep in Afghanistan.
But the government didn't specify where he would go next. Prosecutors are trying to build a criminal case against Jawad, but in the meantime they also are preparing for the possibility they cannot get a grand jury indictment or the judge compels them to release him.
"Department prosecutors are investigating whether they can make a criminal case against Jawad," said Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller, who added that the Obama administration has "made a dramatic break with the policies of the past by rejecting the use of torture ... and making it clear that we will not rely on statements obtained through such methods."
A federal judge yesterday ordered the release of another Guantanamo detainee, Khaled al-Mutairi of Kuwait, who has been held more than seven years.
Al-Mutairi, the Kuwaiti held since 2001, was ordered released by US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.