Mr. Jawed Ahmad
International Justice Network Continues Legal Battle Against Human
Rights Abuses by the Bush Administration in the “War on Terror”
Contact: Mahdis Keshavarz
June 3, 2008, New York, NY—Attorneys from the International Justice Network (IJNetwork) filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. government seeking the release of 22-year old Canadian Television (CTV) journalist, Jawed Ahmad. Ahmad has been held incommunicado by the U.S. military for more than six months without charge at the notorious United States Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, where several confirmed instances of detainee abuse and deaths have occurred.
The lawsuit, filed as a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus and a complaint
for declaratory and injunctive relief, was
filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against President George
W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, alleging that the
government is holding Ahmad illegally.
The U.S. Department of Defense has admitted that Ahmad is
being held at Bagram, but has refused to disclose the reasons for his arrest
and detention. Ahmad is one of several
confirmed cases of foreign journalists illegally detained by the U.S.
Earlier this year, on April 6, the U.S.Bilal Hussein after two years of military
imprisonment without charge in Iraq,
followed by the release, on May 1, of Al
Jazeera cameraman Sami Al Haj after five years of detention without charge at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
government as part of the “war on terror.”
government finally released Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer
Lead counsel on the case, Ahmad v. Bush, is IJNetwork Litigation
Director and Stanford Human Rights Law Professor, Barbara
Olshansky, who stressed that "it is media that shines the
light on troubling practices of all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan
and enables the people to hold their elected officials to account for their
actions." "Given the pivotal role of freedom
of the press in the development and maintenance of a true democracy, the United
States should not seize journalists like Jawed Ahmad merely because they are
doing their jobs," she said.
There are currently approximately 630 Afghans and other foreign
nationals (including at least 9 juveniles) imprisoned without charge by the U.S.
government at the Bagram prison, and many have been held for as long as five
years or more. The International Justice
Network filed the first legal challenges on behalf of civilians held at Bagram
in October 2006, and today remains the only international human rights
organization representing foreign nationals held at U.S.
secret prisons beyond Guantanamo.
| Bio of Jawed
Jawed Ahmad, a 22-year old Canadian Television (CTV) journalist has
been held virtually incommunicado by the U.S. Military for more than six months
without charge at the notorious United States Airforce Base in Bagram,
Afghanistan. Family and friends of Jawed have expressed grave concerns
for the young journalist's health and safety given Bagram's long history of
detainee abuse and death. Ahmad was seized by U.S. forces at the end
of October 2007 at Kandahar Airport when he responded to a call to meet
colleagues there from CTV. The U.S. military has now held Jawed in
Bagram for six and one-half months, and has not charged him with any
crime nor given him access to counsel.