Tuesday, March 15, 2016

American ISIS Fighter Captured in Iraq

Virginia man who surrendered to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq on Monday is believed to be the the first U.S. citizen captured on the battle field after joining ISIS. But it’s not clear that U.S. authorities will seek to extradite him, or that the Iraqi government would be willing to turn him over.The man, who was identified in news accounts as Mohamad Jamal Khweis, reportedly gave himself up near the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar. He had traveled through Turkey to Syria some months ago. A driver’s license that circulated on social media and was apparently taken from him by the Kurds gave his residence as Alexandria, Va.State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that officials were aware of news reports that Khweis had surrendered. It wasn’t clear who was holding him as of Monday evening. And multiple U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that it was too soon to say if the U.S. would seek to put Khweis in American custody and prosecute him for supporting ISIS.

But it’s ultimately up to Iraq how to deal with the man.“If the U.S. wanted to criminally prosecute him, we’d have every right to ask Iraq or the Kurds to extradite him. But it’d be their sovereign right to decide,”David Glazier, a professor of Law at Loyola Law School, told The Daily Beast. Iraq is at war with ISIS, a non-state group that seeks to take Iraqi territory, but U.S. military is acting in a supporting role, Glazier said. That means ball is in Baghdad’s court. “If the U.S. doesn’t do something specific, then he would just stay there.”

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