An Iraqi court has rejected a request to send a Hezbollah commander to the United States for trial. Ali Mussa Daqduq, a Lebanese militant, has been held in Iraq for the 2007 killings of five American soldiers, four of whom were captured, tortured and shot execution-style. But now the Iraqi central criminal court has ordered that Daqduq be freed immediately. The Court stated:
It is not possible to hand [Daqduq] over because the charges were dropped in the same case. Therefore, the court decided to reject the request to hand [him] over to the U.S. judiciary authorities, and to release him immediately.
As Alana Goodman points out, Daqduq was in U.S. custody in Iraq and could have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay. But despite our government’s belief, set forth in the extradition request, that Daqduq is a top threat to Americans in the Middle East, President Obama refused to send him to Gitmo. Instead, the Obama administration decided to let an Iraqi court try him. As a result, barring a reversal of the court’s decision, Daqduq will be freed.
It is no defense to argue that that the Status of Forces Agreement required the U.S. to hand Daqduq over to the Iraqis when we pulled out of Iraq. As Goldman argues, we could have informed the Iraqis that some prisoners are so reprehensible that they are simply not up for negotiation.
Indeed, Sen. Jeff Sessions says he pleaded with the administration not to allow Duqduq’s fate to be decided by the Iraqis. Unfortunately, Obama was unmoved. So now we face the prospect that this killer of Americans, who presents a clear risk of further killing, will not receive justice and will soon be back in the terrorism racket.