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A federal judge said Friday the government must give him more than the “sparse facts” it has provided so far to explain why it is holding an American-born man captured in Afghanistan late last year. “This case appears to be the first in American jurisprudence where an American citizen has been held incommunicado and subjected to an indefinite detention in the continental United States without charges, without any finding by a military tribunal, and without access to a lawyer,” wrote U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar of the Eastern District of Virginia. The judge rejected the government’s bid to avoid submitting additional evidence in the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was born in Louisiana and later moved to Saudi Arabia with his Saudi parents. Hamdi, 21, has been held in the Norfolk Naval Station brig in Virginia since April 5. The government contends Hamdi is an enemy combatant, meaning he can be held indefinitely without charges or a lawyer. Among the evidence Doumar said he wanted were statements made by Hamdi and the troops who captured him, and the screening criteria used to determine Hamdi’s status. The judge said the material would be solely for his review and demanded it be turned over by Wednesday. The Justice Department was reviewing the order and will consider its options, spokeswoman Barbara Comstock said. The government has refused to comply with previous requests, citing national security. Comstock said Hamdi traveled to Afghanistan for the purpose of fighting with the Taliban, and was carrying an AK-47 rifle when he was captured with an enemy Taliban unit. “The Supreme Court has unanimously held that it is lawful to detain enemy combatants in a time of war, even those who claim U.S. citizenship,” she said. “It is important to remember that the purpose of military detention is to prevent the enemy combatant from continuing to aid those who would seek to injure our people, as well as to gather intelligence to thwart further terrorist assaults.” Part of the evidence submitted by the government includes an affidavit by Michael Mobbs, special adviser to the undersecretary of defense for policy. He wrote that Hamdi told U.S. military interrogators he went to Afghanistan last summer to train with and, if necessary, fight for the Taliban. Doumar wasn’t convinced, saying that he would be acting as “little more than a rubber stamp” by accepting Mobbs’ statement as sufficient justification. Public defender Frank Dunham Jr., who has been trying to meet with Hamdi, has argued that Hamdi is being denied his Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and should be released immediately. Dunham on Friday said Doumar’s order didn’t go far enough. “We’d still like to see our client,” he said. “We were hoping he would say, ‘Take the Mobbs Declaration over to the brig to see what Mr. Hamdi has to say about it.”‘ Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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