The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

U.S. Transfers Enemy Combatant To Iraqi Government

As part of its withdrawal from Iraq, the United States has turned over its final prisoner to Iraqi authorities.

The man is Ali Musa Daqduq, whom the United States held in Iraq as an Enemy combatant for his ties to Hezbollah, a militant group from Lebanon.

The AP reports that White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the Iraqi government would not let U.S. take Daqduq out of Iraq to face charges. The wire service adds:

"'We have sought and received assurances that he will be tried for his crimes,' Vietor said Friday.

"It was not immediately clear what charges he could face. The U.S. has said he was part of a brazen raid in which four American soldiers were abducted and killed in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala in 2007."

As NPR's Carrie Johnson reported back in November, where Daqduq would end up was a political minefield. The U.S. could no longer legally hold him in Iraq, because hostilities in the country were ending, and they couldn't hold him indefinitely without charging him because he is not tied to al-Qaida.

Carrie reported Republicans also warned they did not want him tried on U.S. soil. Sen. Lindsey Graham told Attorney General Eric Holder that the only solution he saw was to send Daqduq to Guantanamo to face a military trial. The Obama administration, however, had already committed to closing the prison so they didn't want to send more prisoners there.

As The New York Times puts it, the administration's decsion to turn over Daqduq to Iraq today is a "move likely to unleash a political backlash inside the United States."

The Times also spoke to David Lucas, the brother of Pvt. Shawn Falter, one of the men killed in the 2007 raid.

He said turning Daqduq over to the Iraqis was "as good as letting him go free. It's just a matter of time before the guy is walking the streets there."

"It feels like my brothers' death was in vain," he told the paper.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.