Judge Orders Court Date For Detainee, Absent Deal
Negotiations to Free Combatant Continue. A federal judge yesterday ordered the government to produce “enemy combatant” Yaser Esam Hamdi at a federal court hearing later this month in Norfolk if prosecutors and Hamdi’s attorneys fail to reach a deal to free him. The two sides had asked U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar last week to stay all proceedings for 21 days while negotiations continue over Hamdi’s likely release from custody. Hamdi has been held incommunicado in a Navy brig for two years. Doumar granted the motion but gave the parties two days fewer than they had asked for, setting a hearing for Aug. 30 if the case is not dismissed by then. If Hamdi were to appear in a federal courtroom to contest his detention, it would mark a milestone in the war on terrorism. Neither of the two U.S. citizens held as enemy combatants after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Hamdi and Jose Padilla — who is accused of plotting to set off a radiological bomb in the United States — has been seen publicly since being detained.