In mid-September 2017, U.S. military forces in Iraq detained a U.S. citizen and designated him as an “enemy combatant.” In October, after approximately three weeks during which the U.S. military did not disclose publicly his name or the place of his detention, and did not provided him with access to a court or to counsel, and after the Secretary of Defense and Attorney General ignored our letter to them expressing concern over this detention of a U.S. citizen without charge or counsel, the ACLU and ACLU-DC filed a habeas petition claiming violations of the Non-Detention Act (prohibiting the detention of a U.S. citizen except pursuant to an Act of Congress) and the U.S. Constitution (guaranteeing, among other things, the rights to counsel and due process). The habeas petition sought a court order permitting ACLU attorneys to meet with the “John Doe” detainee, forbidding interrogation of the detainee until the habeas petition is resolved, and requiring that the detainee be charged with a crime in regular federal court or released.

Date filed

October 5, 2017


U.S. District for the District of Columbia


Tanya Chutkan



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