United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
April 5, 2016
from the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia (No. 1:14-cv-00811)
S. Montalvo argued the cause and filed the briefs for
D. Schwinn was on the brief for amicus curiae The John
Marshall Law School International Human Rights Clinic in
support of plaintiff-appellant.
Yelin, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the cause
for appellees. With him on the brief were Benjamin C. Mizer,
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and Matthew M.
Before: Griffith, Srinivasan, and Wilkins, Circuit Judges.
Griffith, Circuit Judge.
United States detained Mohammed Jawad at Guantanamo Bay Naval
Base for more than six years until he was released and
returned to his native Afghanistan in 2009. He has filed a
damages action against the United States and various federal
officials, alleging that they subjected him to torture while
he was in their custody. We affirm the district court's
dismissal of Jawad's complaint because the federal courts
lack jurisdiction to hear his claims.
we are reviewing the dismissal of Jawad's complaint, we
take his allegations as true and recite the facts in the
light most favorable to him. See Klay v. Panetta,
758 F.3d 369, 371 (D.C. Cir. 2014).
December 2002, when Jawad was about 15 years old, Afghan
authorities captured him following a grenade attack that
badly injured two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter.
The Afghan officials subjected Jawad to cruel and abusive
treatment and forced him to sign a prepared confession. They
gave the coerced confession to American military authorities
in Afghanistan, who detained Jawad. While in their custody,
Jawad was abused by American military authorities. Under
intense and prolonged questioning, Jawad initially denied
responsibility for the grenade attack, but later he
confessed. Later still, he recanted his confession.
February 2003, Jawad was transferred to Guantanamo Bay Naval
Base, where the cruel treatment continued. Despite his age,
he was not housed in a facility for juveniles. He spent the
majority of his first year at Guantanamo "in social,
physical, and linguistic isolation, " and even attempted
suicide. For two weeks in May 2004, Jawad was
"repeatedly mov[ed] . . . from one cell to another in
quick intervals throughout the night to disrupt sleep cycles,
on average every three hours." J.A. 30-31. Over the
course of his detention at Guantanamo, he was interrogated
more than 60 times, even after the government decided he had
no useful intelligence. These interrogations included
"various forms of cruel treatment such as excessive
cold, loud noise, beatings, pepper-spray, and being shackled
for prolonged periods." J.A. 29.
to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub.
L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224 (2001), the President may
"detain enemy combatants 'for the duration of the
particular conflict in which they were captured."'
Al Janko v. Gates, 741 F.3d 136, 138 (D.C. Cir.
2014) (quoting Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 518
(2004) (plurality opinion)). To determine whether an
individual is properly detained as an enemy combatant, wholly
apart from whether that person can be punished for his
alleged crimes by a military commission, each detainee
appears before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT).
See id. In 2004, a CSRT determined that Jawad was
properly detained as an enemy combatant. In 2005 and again in
2006, Administrative Review Boards (ARBs) concluded that
there was sufficient reason to continue his detention. In
rendering its decision, each tribunal "relied
heavily" on Jawad's "alleged confessions."
2007, the United States charged Jawad under the Military
Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006 with three counts of attempted
murder in violation of the law of war and three counts of
intentionally causing serious bodily injury. The latter three
counts were eventually dismissed as lesser included offenses.
In September 2008, after prosecutors expressed their intent
to use Jawad's confessions, his counsel moved to suppress
them as the product of torture. In November 2008, the
military commission judge agreed and suppressed the
confessions. The ...