US citizen facing Iraqi death penalty asks Supreme Court to block handover

[JURIST] Mohammad Munaf, a US citizen convicted and sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge, asked [PDF text] the US Supreme Court [official website] Monday to delay his transfer to Iraqi custody while US courts consider his case. Munaf was arrested in Romania in 2005 on kidnapping charges [JURIST report] for allegedly kidnapping and detaining three Romanian journalists for 55 days in Iraq. He was convicted by an Iraqi court last month, but he has argued [JURIST report] that the Iraqi trial violated his due process protections as a US citizen because he was not confronted with the evidence brought against him, and he was prevented from presenting his own exculpatory evidence.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia in October denied [JURIST report] an emergency motion [text, PDF; declaration, PDF] to prevent the US military from surrendering Munaf to Iraqi officials to face the death penalty. Munaf is currently in the custody of the Multi-National Force - Iraq [official website] and the District Court denied Munaf's motion [opinion, PDF], saying that because Munaf is "in the custody of a multinational entity and not the United States" the court did not have jurisdiction to hear his appeal. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also denied [PDF text; JURIST report] Munaf's motion for injunctive relief, but ordered the US military to refrain from releasing Munaf into Iraqi custody pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court. AFP has more.

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