CAIR SEEKS DUE PROCESS FOR AMERICAN FACING EXECUTION IN IRAQ
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/31/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on U.S. authorities in Iraq to maintain custody of an American citizen facing the death penalty in that nation until his legal appeal can be heard.
Last Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Iraqi-American Mohammed Munaf must be given until November 6th to appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court before he can be transferred to Iraqi custody for execution. Munaf was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court earlier this month for his alleged role in the 2005 kidnapping of three Romanian journalists.
SEE: Appeals Court Blocks US Handover of American to Iraqis http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/10/appeals-court-blocks-us-handover-of.php
Munaf’s attorney, Jonathan Hafetz from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, said in a statement:
“While in U.S. custody, Mr. Munaf has been tortured and threatened with violence against himself and his family. On October 12, Munaf was convicted and sentenced to death by an Iraqi court. The trial lacked fundamental due process, as no witnesses were presented and the court relied on evidence secured by torture. . .Habeas corpus is a fundamental right of all U.S. citizens against illegal action by their government. This right has been fundamentally compromised in Mr. Munaf’s case, and absent judicial intervention, he will be put to death and the Constitution forever tarnished.”
“We call on American authorities in Iraq to maintain custody of Mohammed Munaf until his appeal may be heard by a U.S. court,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar. “It would be a miscarriage of justice to hand an American citizen over to another nation for execution without full due process of law and judicial review.”
Iftikhar added that Munaf’s case is just another example of the weaking of habeas corpus – the right of an imprisoned person to challenge his or her confinement in court. President Bush recently signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which reduced that right for resident aliens and provided a legal basis for “alternate” interrogation methods.
CAIR has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, 202-488-8787 or 202-415-0799, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726,
E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org