Political News

Judge schedules hearing for American accused of fighting for ISIS

Posted November 21, 2017 12:49 p.m. EST

— A federal judge in Washington has scheduled a hearing for next week on the case of a US citizen detained in Iraq for allegedly fighting on behalf of ISIS in Syria.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which has called for the unnamed American citizen to have access to legal counsel, filed a motion Monday requesting a hearing in federal court on the pending motions surrounding the case.

The hearing will take place on November 30.

"The government's position that it can hold an American citizen for more than two months without access to a court and to a lawyer undercuts the most fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution," Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the ACLU, told CNN.

Last month, the Trump administration argued against granting the ACLU access to the individual, who was turned over to US forces by a US-backed Kurdish-led group fighting ISIS in Syria.

The Defense Department said the ACLU has "no significant relationship" with the detainee and "cannot show that it would act in the detainee's best interests when it has never conferred with the detainee in order to learn what those interests are," according to a filing with the court.

The Pentagon says it has already arranged a visit with the detainee from the International Committee of the Red Cross, but such a visit "does not satisfy an American citizen's bedrock right to challenge his detention before a judge," Hafetz said at the time.

Marine Corps Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN at the time of his apprehension, the individual "is being legally detained by Department of Defense personnel as a known enemy combatant."

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told CNN: "As a part of the President's national security team, the Department of Justice recognizes the wide range of tools and authorities that the President possesses to protect our national security and to defeat our terrorist adversaries. All options remain on the table, and the Justice Department will continue to use every lawful investigative and prosecutorial tool to achieve these objectives."

Pentagon spokesman Ben Sakrisson told CNN that the Department of Defense would not comment on pending litigation, and in response to a question on why the defendant is not being named he stated: "We anticipate releasing more information on the individual once a final disposition has been determined."