LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An Iraqi charged in Kentucky with
terrorism-related crimes can be tried in civilian court, a federal
judge ruled Tuesday, finding that the allegations may "exist
alongside" the Geneva Convention without subverting its
The ruling, in the case of 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan, puts
to rest, for the moment, the issue of which court he may be tried
"The Court has not located, nor has Alwan provided, a segment
of the Geneva Civilian Convention or another treaty that precludes
the United States from applying extraterritorial portions of its
criminal code to the citizenry of an occupied country," U.S.
District Judge Thomas B. Russell wrote in an 11-page opinion.
Alwan's attorneys sought to have several charges dismissed
because they stem from conduct in Iraq. Prosecutors did not allege
that Hammadi took part in any criminal conduct in Iraq. His
attorney did not join Alwan's motion.
Alwan and 23-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested in Bowling Green, Ky., in May. Alwan and Hammadi are charged in a
23-count indictment with conspiring to send sniper rifles, Stinger
missiles and money to al-Qaida operatives in Iraq. Alwan is also
charged with attacking American soldiers in Iraq.
They have pleaded not guilty and remain in federal custody.
But where to hold the men and eventually put them on trial has
become something of a political issue.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been pushing to have Alwan
and Hammadi tried at the military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay.
McConnell's office did not immediately return a message seeking
Starting in June, McConnell called for the Justice Department to
transfer the men to Guantanamo, referring to them as "enemy
combatants" who don't belong in a Kentucky courtroom.
"These are not common criminals who should be provided all the
rights and privileges of American citizens," McConnell said on
His counterpart, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who lives in Bowling
Green, has focused more on how the men got into the United States.
His spokeswoman, Moira Bagley, said in June that Paul "believes
military tribunals are best for enemy combatants captured on field
of battle," but stopped short of calling for them to be sent to
Paul's office did not immediately returned messages seeking
comment Tuesday. A message left for a U.S. Justice Department
spokesman in Washington, D.C. was also not immediately returned.
Alwan and Hammadi entered the United States through a refugee
program in 2009, even though the government had Alwan's
fingerprints on file. Court documents say the prints were lifted
off of a roadside bomb in Iraqi in 2006.