LOS ANGELES - For the second time in two days, a federal judge has ordered an Orange County man who has been held in a federal detention center for two years released.
In an eleventh hour attempt to bypass a court order, lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice asked U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. late Friday to reconsider his Thursday decision ordering the immediate release of Abdel Jabbar Hamdan. Judge Hatter denied the request on the two year anniversary of Hamdan's incarceration.
ACLU of Southern California attorneys for Hamdan say he should be released immediately.
"I cannot wait to have my dad home," said Hamdan's daughter, Yaman Hamdan, a recent graduate of Chapman University in Orange County. "It has been very hard on our family, but we know that he has done nothing wrong and we hope we can be reunited soon."
A graduate of USC, Hamdan is the father of six U.S.-born children. In 2004 immigration agents arrested him in the middle of the night for technical visa violations. He was later ordered deported to Jordan, where he grew up, but an immigration judge found he would be tortured if he returned to Jordan. Hamdan was never charged criminally.
"Four times judges have said Mr. Hamdan should be released," said ACLU/SC attorney Ranjana Natarajan. "We are thrilled that the day is finally here. The judge clearly said the government has no business detaining him."
Hamdan was an independent contractor for the Holy Land Foundation, a charitable organization that provided humanitarian relief in the Middle East and around the world. The government shut down the organization in 2001 even though it admits the money went to legitimate charitable causes.
The government has claimed since then because of his work that Hamdan is a security risk, but Judge Hatter disagreed, finding that he did not pose any risk and that there is no chance his immigration appeal, which is pending in the 9th Circuit, will be resolved soon.
"We want Mr. Hamdan and his family to be reunited while his immigration case continues," said ACLU/SC attorney Ahilan Arulanantham. "This man has done nothing wrong and the government must follow the court order and release him immediately."