A Texan Was Caught Supporting ISIS in Syria. He Should Be Put on Trial in America

The recent capture of two American citizens, one from Houston, among Islamic State forces fighting in Syria is a stark reminder of the global nature of the conflict there and the recruiting powers of ISIS and other terrorist organizations.But it’s also an opportunity to set a precedent that recognizes the right to due process for any American citizen apprehended in a foreign land and accused of taking up arms against the U.S. or, as in this case, a U.S.-backed militia.In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that the U.S. government can detain foreign “enemy combatants” for as long as hostilities continue--a nebulous concept in a seemingly endless war on terror.But in Hamdi the high court also ruled that any American citizen detained overseas for alleged crimes against the U.S. has both the right to due process and the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made clear in the court’s opinion, “[A] state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation’s citizens.”Moreover, as most legal experts agree, the only place for U.S. citizens to be tried for alleged crimes against the U.S.--whether those crimes be acts in support of terrorism or treason--is in a U.S. federal court. That is especially true in war-torn Syrian territories or other areas where there is no functioning judicial system or impartial court to grant a writ of habeas corpus or provide due process.The Texan recently captured in Syria is Warren Christopher Clark, a 34-year-old University of Houston graduate identified in a 2018 report by George Washington University’s Project on Extremism as an American attempting to join the Islamic State. Captured by Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed militia comprised mainly of Kurdish fighters, Clark is a U.S. citizen and should be repatriated as soon as possible and granted the rights guaranteed all U.S. citizens under the Constitution, including due process and habeas corpus.  Continue reading...

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