guantanamo prison, mohammed jawad, jawad case
Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy/AP
Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

At Guantanamo Bay, Mohammed Jawad's Life Hangs in the Balance

October 14, 2008 05:10 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A military prosecutor who resigned from his position at Guantanamo Bay last month has now accused Pentagon prosecutors of ethical misconduct in the case of Mohammed Jawad.

Did Jawad Lose His Youth to Lies?

According to the Daily Telegraph, Army reservist Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld contacted both a Jesuit priest and Jawad’s defense attorney for advice before resigning from his position as prosecutor in the case. Vandeveld had also obtained “reading material that suggested Mohammed Jawad was underage when detained, was under the influence of drugs at the time of his alleged crime and had been abused by US forces after he was captured.”

According to the Erie Times-News, Vandeveld was in Washington, D.C., in late September, where he testified for the defense in Jawad’s case at Guantanamo. Lawyers for Jawad are attempting to have all charges dropped before the start of his trial in December.

Jawad was captured and imprisoned as a teenager, and has spent five formative years in isolation at Guantanamo.

According to, Jawad is considered an “enemy combatant” by the U.S. government. Prosecutors claim Jawad tried to kill two American soldiers and their Afghan translator by throwing a grenade into their passing vehicle in Kabul in December 2002. All three were injured in the attack.

However, Jawad’s military-appointed attorney, Maj. David Frackt, says his client is the victim. Frackt claims Jawad was homeless before being “drugged and forced to fight with Afghan militia,” then held for five years without charge by the United States. Furthermore, Frackt says Pentagon prosecutors have disregarded the fact that Jawad was initially arrested as a juvenile.

An August 2008 report by Amnesty International explains Jawad’s plight in further depth. After being “beaten, threatened and intimidated into confessing” while in Afghan government custody, Jawad was subjected to sleep deprivation and the “frequent flyer program” at Guantanamo. In December 2003, he attempted suicide.

Background: Vandeveld takes action

On Sept. 25, 2008, the BBC reported that Vandeveld had resigned “because his office suppressed evidence.” Reports have surfaced that the prosecution obtained “evidence that others had confessed to carrying out the attack.” However, the chief prosecutor in the case claimed he did not withhold evidence, and Guantanamo military commissions chief prosecutor Col. Lawrence Morris dismissed Vandeveld’s claims.

The next day, Vandeveld announced his refusal to testify in the case without being given immunity.

Related Topic: Previous Guantanamo resignations; Diary

Reference Material: My Guantanamo Diary


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