Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Free Jack Idema Blogburst: 3/28/2007

It's now been eight very long weeks since anyone has heard from illegally-imprisoned US Special Forces soldier Jack Idema. While we continue the anxious wait for any developments, this past week has brought two pieces of good news in the case.

First, there was the news that a US Judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, had taken an interest in Jack, and, in particular, the involvement of the FBI and US State Department in Idema's arrest and torture:
While this Court is keenly aware of case law suggesting that it does not have jurisdiction over a habeas petition stemming from a foreign conviction and sentence, petitioners’ claim does more than simply challenge a foreign conviction. Petitioners allege that United States officials ordered their arrest, ordered their torture, stole exculpatory evidence during their trial and appeal, exerted undue influence over Afghan judges, and either directly or indirectly ordered judges who found petitioners innocent not to release petitioners from prison.
The Court cannot simply ignore petitioners’ alleged facts and find that it lacks jurisdiction without any response to these troubling facts by respondents.
Judge Sullivan goes on to demand a response by April 10th.

What is particularly encouraging about this motion is Sullivan's refusal to simply dismiss Jack's plight as a matter internal to the Afghan justice system. Although this is something the Free Jack Campaign have always stressed, this is the first time anyone on the 'outside' has recognised that Idema's arrest, torture, trial and illegal-imprisonment happened with the direct involvement of the US Government.

The second piece of good news this week comes from one of our US Military sources in Kabul:
Heard through the grapevine from a few friends in Kabul that Jack’s judge was fired, placed under arrest, and is being investigated by the Justice Commission for his conduct of Jack’s trial.
This, presumably, means Abdul Baset Bakhtyari, the 'former' Taliban Judge who stated, at Jack and his team's first 'trial', that he intended to conduct the case according to the Taliban criminal code instead of post-liberation Afghan law. Bakhtyari also refused to allow Jack and his men to submit evidence in their own defence or cross-examine any of the witnesses giving evidence against them. Bakhtyari also ejected the only competent interpreter from the court after half-a-day's work, threatening to have him arrested if he returned for the afternoon session. In fact, the interpreter in question was lucky -- When Brent was appointed a female lawyer, one of Bakhtyari's Taliban associates threatened her with death if she so much as set foot in the courtroom. If it is, indeed, true that Bakhtyari is under investigation for these flagrant abuses of the Afghan legal system, this can only be a good thing.

However. There are two issues that must not be ignored: One is whether Bakhtyari is being set-up as a scapegoat so that the equally guilty parties in the US State Department, the FBI and the Karzai administration can dodge Judge Sullivan's attention.

The second, and more pressing, matter is the whereabouts and wellbeing of the man at the center of this legal storm. Just where is Jack Idema?

So what can we do? Well, anyone reading this with their own blog can sign up for the weekly Free Jack Idema Blogburst by emailing Cao or Rottweiler Puppy for details. I'd urge everyone to do this, as we're still terribly short on takers. If you want to know more about the story, Cao's Blog has a large section devoted to Jack Idema. There's also a timeline here, and, of course, a huge amount of information is available over at SuperPatriots, without whose work none of us would have learned about Jack's story.

Finally, PLEASE NOTE: The SuperPatriots and Jack images on this site are used with WRITTEN COPYRIGHT PERMISSION and any use by any third party is subject to legal action by SuperPatriots.US

Technorati tags: , and Technorati Search for Jack Idema

The Free Jack Idema Blogroll:
The Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill, The Lone Voice, Kender's Musings, Irate Nate, The Devil's Kitchen, Cao's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Theodore's World, NIF, Rottweiler Puppy, Right For Scotland, Freedom Folks, The City Troll, Sacramento Boxing, Causes of Interest, Concatenation of Events, Hyscience, Stuck On Stupid, The Daily Blogster, You Don't Know Jack, Right Wing Nation, Ron's Musings, Right Voices, 7.62mm Justice, Special/Blown-It, And Rightly So!, Causal Nexus, Death To The Swiss and A Real Man.