WASHINGTON — The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that it has visited with an American citizen the Pentagon has accused of fighting with the Islamic State in Syria.
The unidentified American was picked up on Syria’s battlefield and is being held by U.S. forces in Iraq, according to senior U.S. officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the detainee’s location publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. He surrendered to U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces around Sept. 12, and has been detained since then as an unlawful enemy combatant.
The Pentagon notified the Red Cross last week that it was holding the man.
Marc Kilstein, an ICRC spokesman in Washington, said the Red Cross visited with the man in the past few days. “In accordance with our confidential approach, we are not in a position to comment on the individual’s identity, location, or conditions of detention,” Kilstein said.
The man’s fate has raised questions among constitutional lawyers and human rights monitors in the United States. The senior officials said it was not clear yet if he would be turned over to the Justice Department. In recent years, suspects accused of terror-related offenses, including Americans, routinely have been adjudicated in U.S. courts.
Another possibility could involve handing him over to Iraqi authorities if he is believed to have committed war crimes in Iraq while working with ISIS in the region. The senior officials have suggested it is unlikely he would be sent to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But no one has publicly ruled out that option. And President Donald Trump has championed the facility that his predecessors sought to close, saying he wants to fill it up with “bad dudes.”