Iraq launches airstrike against ISIS target in Syria

Iraq launches airstrike against ISIS target in Syria

The Trump administration has told a federal court that it plans to release an American citizen accused of fighting with Islamic State militants and return him to Syria.

In its filing, the ACLU argues that the government's plan amounts to a "death sentence" and calls on the court to ensure the safe release of its client.

In its notice filed to a Washington DC court on Wednesday, the Justice Department said it offered the man a choice of being released "either in a town or outside an Internally Displaced Person camp", but he would not agree to release options.

The man is now being held in a US military detention facility in Iraq.

In court documents, the USA military says the suspected fighter was picked up by the SDF at a "screening point" where the militia inspects those fleeing to check that no IS fighters are attempting escape by blending in with civilians.

The man was born in the United States to Saudi parents.

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The US Department of Justice declined to comment on the case when contacted by Middle East Eye.

Chutkan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia asked the government and the ACLU - which is representing the American - to give her more time to make her decision and ordered a hearing on June 20 to further discuss the issue.

"He doesn't want to stay in prison but he doesn't want to go out where he is in grave danger", Hafetz said.

The Hill reported that the us government said Doe attended ISIS training sessions in Syria starting in March 2015, where he swore allegiance to al-Baghdadi's deputy, Abu Hafs al-Maghrebi.

According to the Hill, Doe's "planned release - which appears likely to be at least delayed by an ACLU challenge - was announced just two weeks before a federal court is scheduled to hold a hearing on whether the government is holding Doe legally in the first place".

He talked to US intelligence officers after he was taken into custody, but that evidence can't be used in court against him.

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Government lawyer James Burnham defended the plan, saying the SDF is "a trusted local partner" of the United States forces and the area is "much better, much safer" than where he was taken prisoner by the SDF last September.

"I think the question for the district court is going to be whether the release the government has contemplated really will put Doe in significant jeopardy", as the ACLU claims, Vladeck said.

Prosecutors have alleged that "by his own admission", the man joined Islamic State in 2014, attended a training camp "and worked for and provided support to" the group until the USA -led military offensive in Iraq and Syria forced him to flee.

"Our fight for our client's right to due process has also become a fight for his right to life", Hafetz said.

"What the government is offering our client is no release - it's a death warrant".

He said the filing on the Syria release plan also suggests that whatever third country that had said it would accept the man had changed its position, or that the government was seeking to drop the case to avoid having to litigate thorny legal questions of the scope of its battlefield authority to hold citizens.

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