A U.S. judge has ordered the release of a young detainee at the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In Washington, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle ordered the
government to report back to her by August 24. She said she hoped
Mohammed Jawad would already be on his way back to Afghanistan by then.
U.S. officials have been debating whether to try Jawad in the United States or send him home to Afghanistan.
Jawad was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002, accused of throwing a
grenade that wounded two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter. He was
later transferred to U.S. custody and sent to Guantanamo.
Although the Obama administration has said it is prepared to let him
go, federal prosecutors have said they are investigating whether a
criminal case is possible against him.
Prosecutors have said Jawad will no longer be held as a wartime
prisoner. A military judge had ordered that a confession from Jawad be
thrown out, ruling it was obtained through torture when he was in the
custody of Afghan authorities.
Jawad's attorneys say he was about 12 years old at the time of his
arrest, while the Pentagon says medical tests show he was about 17.
U.S. President Barack Obama has announced plans to close the Guantanamo
Bay detention center by next January. The facility has been the focus
of intense criticism in the United States and abroad since
then-President George W. Bush set it up after the September 11, 2001
terrorist attacks to house terror suspects.
The United States is looking for host countries for an estimated 50 Guantanamo detainees it has decided not to prosecute.