Federal Court Is the Appropriate Venue for Hamidullan Trial

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today praised the Obama Administration’s decision to transfer a military detainee from the Parwan Detention Facility in Afghanistan to the United States where he will be prosecuted in a federal trial. The detainee, known as Irek Hamidullan, will likely be charged for his involvement in a 2009 attack on Afghan and U.S. soldiers.

“Federal courts are the best venue to try terrorism cases,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “As Americans debate how to respond to concerns about emerging terrorist groups, trying Hamidullan in a civilian federal court is an important reminder that the federal courts are one of our strongest tools in the fight.”

Human Rights First notes that federal courts have completed nearly 500 cases related to international terrorism since 9/11.  Of those, at least 67 cases have involved individuals captured overseas, according to Department of Justice data obtained by Human Rights First in a Freedom of Information Act request. In September, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and al Qaeda spokesperson Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was sentenced to life in prison in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Meanwhile, military commissions have convicted only 8 individuals since 9/11.  Two of those convictions were recently overturned on appeal.

“Those advocating for Hamidullah to be sent to Guantanamo to face military trials are advocating for delay, confusion, and legal uncertainty,” said Eviatar.

For more information about prosecuting terrorism cases, please see Human Rights First’s fact sheets Federal Courts Continue to Take Lead in Counterterrorism Prosecutions and Myth v. Fact: Trying Terrorism Suspects in Federal Court.  For more information about Human Rights First’s plan for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, please read the organization’s blueprint How to Close Guantanamo.


Published on November 4, 2014


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