Thursday, August 12, 2004

Can you say Flip-Flop?

(I knew you could.)

Guess what? Now the government is preparing a deal to release the guy that was soooo dangerous that even allowing him to talk to a lawyer would imperil the realm:

The U.S. government, which has held Yaser Esam Hamdi incommunicado in a Navy brig for two years without charges, much of the time without a lawyer, indicated yesterday that it is nearing a deal that would free him altogether.

The government is negotiating with Hamdi's lawyers about "terms and conditions acceptable to both parties that would allow Mr. Hamdi to be released from . . . custody," according to documents filed in federal court in Norfolk. The legal papers, submitted jointly by federal prosecutors and Hamdi's attorneys, asked the court to stay all proceedings for 21 days while negotiations continue.

Terms of the release are still being hammered out but, according to people familiar with the situation, are likely to include that Hamdi renounce his U.S. citizenship, move to Saudi Arabia and accept some travel restrictions, as well as some monitoring by Saudi officials. In addition, he may have to agree not to sue the federal government over whether his civil rights were violated.

Right. You sign this paper that says you agree not to sue us and we'll let you out of prison. Don't sign it? okay, then it's an indefinite stay in the brig for you. I would sure like to hear from a civil rights lawyer on this; it seems to me that he could sign it and then later sue them anyway, claiming he signed under duress. Indefinite detention may not be torture, but it sure qualifies as a threat to one's life and liberty.

One presumes that there's at least a lucrative book contract in his future...


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