The U.S. military is prepared to set an American man free in an undisclosed location in Syria, after he has been held for months on suspicions he was fighting for ISIS.
Court records show that the prisoner, identified as “John Doe,” has been detained at a secret location in Iraq since September.
His detainment sparked a legal battle over whether or not the U.S. military had the right to detain him, according to Politico.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department ruled that John Doe would be released “no sooner than 72 hours” after the filing, “either in a town or outside an Internally Displaced Person camp.”
U.S. plans to release American suspected of fighting for ISIS in Syria https://t.co/QjVK1yoH44
— POLITICO (@politico) June 7, 2018
The detention has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since September when he was arrested by Syrian Democratic Forces and turned over to U.S. troops.
The Pentagon claimed it was legally holding the man.
“The government has effectively admitted that it has no reason to continue detaining our client and that he does not pose a threat. But, instead of offering a safe release, they want to dump an American citizen onto the side of the road in a war-torn country without any assurances of protection and no identification,” ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz said in the statement.
Justice Department lawyers said the Defense Department “intended to release Petitioner in one of two possible locations — either in a town or outside an Internally Displaced Person camp — and would allow Petitioner to choose which location he preferred.”
The court filing said the petitioner did not identify a preference between the two locations and would not agree to the release.
“We’ll be asking the court to immediately intervene and ensure the safe release of our client,” Hafetz said.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that ACLU lawyers be allowed confidential communication with the prisoner.
The judge ordered the U.S. government to provide 72 hours’ notice before transferring the prisoner out of American custody in Iraq.
When the ACLU filed a motion to block the transfer, the judge entered a preliminary injunction blocking the transfer.
In May, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Chutkan’s ruling.