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Judge denies expedited consideration in lawsuit of Alabama ISIS bride

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A request for a judge to consider the case of an Alabama ISIS bride’s citizenship on an emergency basis was denied in federal court Monday, attorneys said.

The woman, Hoda Muthana, left the United States to join ISIS in Syria in 2014. She’s been begging to return home with her young child, saying she regrets joining ISIS. On Feb 21, a lawsuit asking the court to recognize her citizenship was filed after the Trump administration said she has “no legal basis” to claim citizenship.

The judge’s denial means she won’t be able to immediately leave a refugee camp in Syria and fight her citizenship claim inside the U.S., AP reported. But Judge Reggie Walton did say the 24-year-old woman’s lawyer made a “valid argument” for her right to citizenship during a hearing Monday.

“The judge said the potential harms are too speculative. The judge said there’s no reason not to treat this as a normal case,” attorney John Eastman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence told Monday.

The U.S. says Muthana is not a citizen because her father was a Yemeni diplomat at the time of her birth in New Jersey. Her lawyers argue he was no longer a diplomat at the time.

“Today we’re disappointed but understand the judge’s ruling . . . focusing on whether there’s immediate harm,” lead Muthana attorney Charles D. Swift of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America told The Washington Post after the hearing. “In the meantime, we’re also very encouraged. The judge’s comments certainly foreshadow the ultimate outcome of this case in our viewpoint . . . the fact that Hoda Muthana is a United States citizen,” Swift said.

A ruling on the case could come this summer or fall.


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