Trump officials indefinitely detaining Palestinian who served prison sentence: report

The Trump administration is reportedly using a post-9/11 immigration regulation to indefinitely detain a Palestinian man after he completed a 15-year prison sentence.

According to The New York Times, Adham Hassoun, a computer programmer living in Florida, served 15 years after he was convicted of sending support to Islamist groups overseas. But after a judge ordered Hassoun temporarily released in the U.S., the Trump administration told him he would be detained indefinitely, citing a 2001 regulation covering the detention of people set for deportation. 

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Hassoun has since sued the federal government in the Western District of New York, the Times noted.

“The government is saying it can hold someone solely because it claims he is a danger, without a justification like he’s a combatant in an armed conflict or has a mental illness that prevents him from controlling his own actions,” Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union who is a consultant in the case, told the newspaper. “This is a monumentally important issue courts have never addressed.”

Hassoun was initially set to be deported after the completion of his sentence, but Lebanon, where he was born, would not accept him, according to the Times, which added that while the Palestinian Authority granted him permission to go to the West Bank, Israel and Jordan blocked that move.

The case marks only the second time the government has invoked the regulation, the newspaper noted.

In 2015, the Obama administration used it to detain another Palestinian man, Mohammed Rashed, who had served a prison sentence for planting a bomb on a plane in 1982, but the government could not find a place to deport him, according to the Times. It added that Mauritania accepted Rashed before a court could rule on his detention.