American-Born ISIS Suspect Freed After Being Held More Than A Year

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The Trump administration has decided to free an American-born ISIS suspect to Bahran in lieu of allowing his case to go to trial to avoid a court potentially questioning U.S. authority to fight ISIS without congressional authorization, according to The New York Times.

  • Abdulrahman Ahmad Alsheikh, who was born in the U.S. and raised in the Middle East, was released to Bahrain, where his wife and daughter are living, The Times reported. He is a dual American and Saudi citizen.
  • Alsheikh traveled to Turkey and apparently crossed into Syria in July 2014 — just as ISIS was seizing vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
  • After he arrived, Alsheikh filled out an Islamic State intake form, obtained by The Times, saying he was willing to be a fighter or suicide bomber (he was not accused of fighting for the group, however).
  • He was captured by Kurdish forces in September 2017 and then transferred to U.S. custody. He had been held at a base in Iraq ever since.
  • The man’s capture, however, kicked off a debate that threatened to “undermine the whole war” against ISIS, as The Daily Beast put it, since a challenge could have been made not only against his detention, but the entire basis of the war, since it had been carried under the post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
  • Instead of risking that fight, Trump administration lawyers set Alsheikh free to Bahrain. His American passport has been canceled but he retained his U.S. citizenship as part of the deal, The Times reported.
  • ACLU senior staff attorney Jonathan Hafetz told Task & Purpose in a statement: “After our client succeeded in forcing the government to try and defend to a court its extreme and inaccurate claim of detention authority, the government opted instead to release him as a free man. This is a victory our client fought for long and hard. The victory sends a strong message that the president cannot take away an American’s liberty without due process, and it shows the continuing importance of judicial review.”

Read the full story at The Times >