U.S. To Free Hamdi This Week

Saudi origin Yaser Esam Hamdi is seen in this file photo taken in June 2001. Nearly two years have passed since Yaser Esam Hamdi returned to his native America, handcuffed and classed as an ``enemy combatant'' after U.S. forces captured him in Afghanistan. A court appeal for his right to have a lawyer and answer the allegations is pending, but the parents of the 22-year-old Saudi from Baton Rouge, La., are no closer to knowing if they will ever see him again. AP

A U.S. citizen held since late 2001 as an enemy combatant is to be sent to Saudi Arabia by Thursday under an agreement to release him that was made public Monday.

Yaser Esam Hamdi must give up his U.S. citizenship and renounce terrorism under the agreement, which includes a number of other restrictions. Hamdi, whose case led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the president's powers to indefinitely hold wartime combatants, has been held without charges and will not be charged with any crime.

CBS News Legal Consultant Andrew Cohen says the deal "is a fairly clear sign that the feds don't perceive him to be anything close to the threat they once did."

The four-page agreement was filed late Friday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, along with a request by Hamdi's lawyer and the federal government to stay any court proceedings in the case until Oct. 1 so the agreement may be carried out.

Hamdi was being held in a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. Justice Department officials said Monday they did not have immediate information on when Hamdi would be released.

Hamdi was born in Baton Rouge, La., in 1980 to Saudi parents.

The plan is for the Defense Department to fly Hamdi to Saudi Arabia, where he was raised, on a military plane, officials said.

Hamdi's lawyer, federal public defender Frank Dunham Jr., did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Monday.

Under the agreement, Hamdi must live in Saudi Arabia for five years and not travel outside that country during that time.

The agreement negotiated by Dunham and the Justice Department forbids Hamdi from traveling to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Hamdi also agreed not to travel to the United States for 10 years. After that, he must get permission from the U.S. secretaries for defense and homeland security before initiating travel to the United States.
  • Jarrett Murphy

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