Patriot Act

PATRIOT Act Clause Invoked to Keep Man Imprisoned Even After He Served His Sentence

A part of the law intended to hold suspected terrorists for deportation is being twisted to justify indefinite detention.

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A man who has already completed a lengthy sentence for sending money to terrorist groups continues to be held indefinitely behind bars, thanks to a provision of the PATRIOT Act.

Adham Amin Hassoun, a Palestinian, was detained in 2002 for outstaying his visa. He was subsequently charged and convicted in 2007 of directing financial aid to terrorist groups in places like Bosnia and Kosovo, disguising it as humanitarian aid for oppressed Muslims. He received much less media attention than his alleged co-conspirator Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen accused of plotting a "dirty bomb" attack against the United States.

Hassoun was was supposed to be released in 2017 after serving his time. There was a problem, though: No country wanted to take him post-release. Hassoun was born in Lebanon, but he is not a citizen of the country. Israel and Jordan will not allow him back to the West Bank. Unlike Padilla, Hassoun isn't an American citizen. He's committed a deportable offense, but there's nowhere to deport him to.

So rather than releasing him in the United States, the federal government is now using a section of the PATRIOT Act, passed after the September 11 attacks, to keep him detained, potentially forever.

Spencer Ackerman reports in The Daily Beast that the Department of Homeland Security has invoked Section 412 of the PATRIOT Act against lawyers seeking Hassoun's release. Section 412 allows the government to detain a suspected terrorist before deportation if the attorney general determines that releasing the prisoner would threaten national security. This holding period is only supposed to last for six months—the section is even labelled "limitation on indefinite detention"—but it can be reviewed and renewed without limit.

Hassoun was not convicted of engaging in any terrorist acts. He was convicted of helping fund overseas organizations, and most of that money was sent prior to 9/11.

Furthermore, and much more importantly, he has served his time. This section of the PATRIOT Act was intended to let the authorities take terror suspects into custody and deport them. It was not intended to keep holding a convict after his sentence has been completed. Ackerman reports:

Attorneys for Hassoun, who were in federal court on Friday to argue for his freedom, are stunned at the invocation of Section 412. They noted that the PATRIOT Act provision is written to "take [a non-citizen] into custody," not to retroactively designate someone already in detention as a threat.

"If the government were to prevail in its claim of extraordinary and unprecedented executive power, the government would be free to lock up non-citizens indefinitely based solely on executive say-so, even after they completed serving their sentences," said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

While the Supreme Court has determined that the federal government cannot simply lock up foreigners on American soil indefinitely if they aren't able to deport them (in Zadvyas v. Davis in 2001), it has been reluctant to intervene in terrorism related cases. In a subsequent case (Hamdi v. Rumsfeld), the Supreme Court gave the feds clearance under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to indefinitely detain prisoners determined to be enemy combatants. And even though our military actions in 2019 bear little resemblance to the "war on terror" launched after 9/11, the Supreme Court in June declined to reconsider any limits to that authority.

And no, this bureaucratic cruelty isn't unique to the Trump years. Barack Obama's Justice Department attempted a similar move against Mohammed Rashed, who set off a bomb on Pan Am flight 830 back in 1982, killing one man. Rashed, like Hassoun, was a Palestinian (officially born in Jordan); after his sentence was completed in 2013, no country wanted to take him in. The Obama administration kept him in detention, but before a judge could rule on whether it had the authority to do so, Mauritania agreed to take him.

But with Hassoun, unlike Rashed, the feds have never even made a case tying his actions to any identifiable victims. What's more, a federal judge rejected a request for a life sentence, noting that the feds had surveilled him for years and knew he was sending money abroad some time before charging him, contradicting any claim that the man "poses such a danger to the community that he needs to be imprisoned for the rest of his life."

Nevertheless, unless judges intervene (or another country agrees to take him in), Hassoun will continue to be punished with imprisonment long after his sentence has ended.

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  1. Anyone want to take bets on how long it’ll take before what they’re using against “filthy, ‘murica-hatin terrorists” makes the jump to average joes?

    1. Look at the militarization of police departments – it’s already happening.

      1. We don’t need to wonder, since Obama already assassinated an American oversea’s without a trial. Compared to that, this case seems positively tame.

        One might even wonder how it is that Americans oversea’s can be targeted by drones but this foreign national who was convicted of providing aid to terrorists deserves asylum.

        What a world we live in.

        1. Every President since drones have been invented has killed plenty of innocents, and I am certain more than a few American citizens. Trump has too, and whomever succeeds him will do the same. That doesn’t make it right! And the guy in the article is a piece of work. But that is the point.
          Is life incarceration just for this sort of thing? Is it wise? Do we want to keep paying for it? Should we be like China and just kill people like this and lie about it? Are you really a libertarian?

  2. Reason when we tried to hold foreign terrorists in overseas detention facilities or try them in military courts: THIS IS A LAW ENFORCEMENT ISSUE! THEY MUST BE TRIED IN COURT WITH DUE PROCESS!

    Reason after we convict foreign terrorists in domestic criminal trials and then can’t deport them because their home countries won’t take them: RELEASE THEM IMMEDIATELY AND GIVE THEM A GREEN CARD!

    It’s almost like the only thing Reason actually gives a fuck about is treating Muslim terrorists with kid gloves and making sure they can get legal residency.

    1. Fuck you. Nowhere in the article is there Reason talking about a green card, let alone demanding that he get one. You just can’t stand the idea of a brown skinned person getting out of prison after serving his time. Fuck you.

      1. There are only 3 options once you eliminate prison and every other country in the world. Green card, public benefits or known undocumented felon left to his own devices and subject to arrest at every parole meeting. None are good options, but those are the only ones I see without fundamental changes.

        1. ^ This.

          As it turns out, one path to lawful citizenship in the United States is to support foreign terrorism while overstaying a visa. This seems to be what Scott actually believes.

        2. Another reason to strike the idiotic death penalty plank from the LP platform. Until then, amok berserkers not wanted in their own terrorist countries could profitably moonlight as fashion models for suicide vests. None of the fake libertarians eager to set villains up in comfort at taxpayer expense mentions the cost. Eighty dollars a day is fine with me provided it is billed to those who advocate room and board as punishment–and not punishment of innocents on whom the IRS preys for funds.


          1. …all presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously, for the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.

            Just saying this was a pretty good idea in the 1760’s and it’s still a pretty good idea today. Execution would need to rely on a perfect system of justice, which to date does not exist and likely never will.

        3. You left out, kill them and lie about it. Or just “dissappear” them altogether, like Mexico. All bad choices.

    2. It’s almost like the only thing Reason actually gives a fuck about is

      ensuring due process for all. I don’t see where they make any sort of policy recommendations, only inform the reader of an issue. You know like informing their readers of other Patriot Act bs that has lead to the droning of an American citizen or spying on a presidential campaign. This shit has a way of not only hitting terrorists but everyday Americans. Like IRS structuring laws used to combat drug dealers in the 1980s, used in 2012 to seize a MD dairy farmers assets.


      1. It’s almost like the only thing Reason actually gives a fuck about is ensuring due process for all.

        He got due progress, the problem seems to be that his home country thinks he’s scum and they refuse to deal with him after he served his time. It would appear his home country thinks indefinite detention is what this guy deserves since that is the sentence they have doomed this guy to.

        That said, I’m not sure why the U.S. is obligated to carry out their sentence. This guy should be sent back regardless of what his home country thinks about it. He really is their problem now.


        Hassoun was was supposed to be released in 2017 after serving his time. There was a problem, though: No country wanted to take him post-release. Hassoun was born in Lebanon, but he is not a citizen of the country. Israel and Jordan will not allow him back to the West Bank. Unlike Padilla, Hassoun isn’t an American citizen. He’s committed a deportable offense, but there’s nowhere to deport him to.

        Might as well be a sentence after all that which says “and so he must become an American citizen or be granted aslyum”, even though in this case it seems a bit absurd to give terrorists asylum just because they are such scum that their home’s don’t want them.

        How dumb must one be to ‘punish’ foreign terrorists by granting them asylum in the United States indefinitely? That isn’t punishment, it’s an actual reward. It’s sort of like letting a thief keep the millions of dollars they stole after they get out of jail. We do that all the time, right?

        1. But it doesn’t have that sentence. And if Shackford argued for asylum, I would be against. Rendition him. We do it all the time. Slap a bag on his head, loaded him into a C-47 and then drop him off in Lebanon. The only problem with that is, if they actually think he is a threat the CIA wants the home nation to know about them to “monitor” them. Perhaps a nice letter afterwards, “We dropped off your scumbag on 7th and Shithole St”. I don’t really care much about this guy but you know that government will use this against Americans soon enough.

          1. I actually don’t know that the government will use this precedent against Americans soon enough.

            Are we saying the United States will refuse to deport American citizens to the United States? How does that work?

            Obama already set the precedent for American citizens as ‘murder without trial’ if they are difficult to capture abroad. Do we really think this case in particular is worse, or will be more misused?

          2. Oh, and ultimately it’s pretty rich that his home nation would probably cut off his fucking head for his crimes and here we are pretending that’s preferable to indefinite detention.

            I wonder which option the actual criminal would prefer.

  3. Here is what I know: I don’t want this palestinian Adham Amin Hassoun anywhere in CONUS. He is absolutely a security threat and under no circumstance should he be allowed on US soil.

    What would happen if we just dumped his ass in Lebanon? I mean, fly his sorry terrorist ass to Beirut, and toss him to their version of border security. What is Lebanon realistically gonna do about it if we did that? Fuck that….Lebanon, take back your trash.

    1. Reverse rendition him. Sounds good. Not a fan of the practice normally but what are you going to do.

    2. Maybe we should try seasteading again.

      1. 3 weeks of MREs and a rowboat.

  4. No sympathy here. Keep him locked up until his home country takes him back. Look what happened in London with released terrorists. Is Reason that clueless?

    1. Reason has The Altar Girl making damned good and sure no mention is made of Irish voters repealing–by way over the 2/3 margin–the constitutional amendment forcing bonnie Coleens into involuntary labor. Shika talks abt nothing but the wonderfulness of uninspected entry, and the LP itself has been infiltrated by a California Antifa-ideologue and bullshitted into removing from our Migration plank inspection of any terrorists in full suicide-vest regalia with pocketfuls of biological weapons. Yet none want this actor in their spare bedroom.

  5. Adham Amin Hassoun, now in his late 50s, has spent nearly the entire war on terrorism in cages. First picked up on an immigration violation in June 2002, he ended up standing trial alongside once-suspected “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla. But Hassoun was never accused of any act or plot of violence. His crime was cutting checks to extremist-tied Muslim charities operating in places like Kosovo and Chechnya that Congress outlawed after the 9/11 attacks.’
    AddresX

  6. Since Reason is pretty pro-open borders, I’m not sure why they feel that borders should be respected in this particular case. Why do we need another nations permission to cross their imaginary lines?

    In all seriousness though, I don’t know what the solution is for criminals that can’t be deported but can’t stay in the United States. One solution that seems pretty absurd: granting convicted terrorists asylum in the United States when their home nations refuse to take them. This is not the food truck operator Reason is looking for.


    But with Hassoun, unlike Rashed, the feds have never even made a case tying his actions to any identifiable victims. What’s more, a federal judge rejected a request for a life sentence, noting that the feds had surveilled him for years and knew he was sending money abroad some time before charging him, contradicting any claim that the man “poses such a danger to the community that he needs to be imprisoned for the rest of his life.”

    It seems his ‘victims’ were probably in Bosnia and Kosovo, and yeah it would probably be hard to trace his money directly to a victim. Does this mean sending money to people that blow other people up is a victimless crime? After all, maybe the terrorists he gave aid to bought coca-cola and skittles with the money he sent to them.

    All in all, the thing I’d really like to know is why no other nation wants to take the guy. After all, he’s clearly no threat according to Reason.

  7. “sending money to people that blow other people up”
    Sounds a lot like our tax dollars at work. Thankfully, we only kill certified national security threats – not actual people – so our killing is 100% justified!

    1. Yes, because the American military is exactly equivalent to domestic terrorists. American soldiers often strap on suicide vests and infiltrate foreign malls to detonate themselves. Total parity.

      /sarc

  8. Put him in a plane, fly over Lebanon, and boot him out. Parachute optional.

    1. Wait, I’ve got a better idea—the Border Catapult™! Launch undesirables into Canada or Mexico at a fraction of the cost of commercial transportation!

  9. >>>So rather than releasing him in the United States

    dude seriously?

  10. There just happens to be a huge, unpopulated (outside of a few research bases) continent directly south of everywhere that doesn’t actually BELONG to anyone. How about dropping him off there?

  11. Seems like a pretty easy solution to deport him to the one continent that no country claims sovereignty over. We should even set him up with supplies.

    Good luck in Antarctica.

  12. So rather than releasing him in the United States, the federal government is now using a section of the PATRIOT Act, passed after the September 11 attacks, to keep him detained, potentially forever.

    Good.

  13. He’s not our problem. Send him back to Lebanon whether they like it or not. He belongs to them, not us.

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