Iraqi man seeks release after long immigration detainment

Attorneys for 34-year-old Farass Adnan Ali are challenging what they call his “unreasonable, prolonged” pre-deportation detention. (Courtesy: Facebook page)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Iraqi man seeks release after long immigration detainment

  • Attorneys for 34-year-old Farass Adnan Ali are challenging what they call his “unreasonable, prolonged” pre-deportation detention
  • Ali, of Rochester, has been held since his arrest in May 2017, after he allegedly lied to the FBI about his social media activity

MINNEAPOLIS: An Iraqi man who is accused of hiding his past as a member of an elite Iraqi military force is asking a federal judge in Minnesota to release him after 16 months in immigration custody.
Attorneys for 34-year-old Farass Adnan Ali are challenging what they call his “unreasonable, prolonged” pre-deportation detention, which has included seven months of solitary confinement. But the Star Tribune reports that court documents show Ali’s immigration case also intersects with an FBI counterterrorism investigation.
Ali, of Rochester, has been held since his arrest in May 2017, after he allegedly lied to the FBI about his social media activity, which included use of Facebook and an app called Viber. An FBI agent wrote in court documents that Ali’s Viber contacts included a Fallujah native who is allegedly linked to an insurgent cell behind attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces. Ali’s Facebook account includes an image of Daesh militants entering a Libyan city in 2015.
Ali hasn’t been publicly charged. His attorneys say the government hasn’t publicly invoked any national security statutes that would justify his prolonged detention.
Ali came to the US in 2014 as a refugee from Turkey. He became a lawful permanent resident in July 2015.
The FBI, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US attorney’s office declined to comment to the Star Tribune about Ali’s case.
A federal immigration judge has refused to release Ali on bond, finding that he failed to show that he didn’t pose a danger. Ali’s attorneys say that unless a US District Court judge intervenes, he could be held at least another year.
“This is somebody who’s never committed a crime in America, he entered as a refugee, he’s got a green card and the United States is holding him for no really good reason,” said Ian Bratlie, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota. “It’s kind of absurd and it’s harmful to people’s rights.”
According to court records, ICE officials allege that when completing immigration forms, Ali concealed his service in the Saddam Hussein regime’s elite Republican Guard and said that he had never been arrested in Iraq. But when he was seeking refugee status, he later claimed he’d once been arrested by Iraqi authorities who suspected his involvement in an explosion targeting police.
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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com


Israel to improve coordination with Moscow over Syria after plane crash

Updated 33 min 53 sec ago
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Israel to improve coordination with Moscow over Syria after plane crash

  • Fifteen Russian crew were killed when the IL-20 surveillance plane crashed near Latakia in northern Syria on Monday
  • Russia has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit the area

JERUSALEM: Israel said on Thursday it would not halt strikes on Syria but would do more to "deconflict" them with Russian forces, after Moscow accused it of "irresponsible and unfriendly actions" that led to Syrian ground fire mistakenly downing a Russian plane.
Fifteen Russian crew were killed when the IL-20 surveillance plane crashed near Latakia in northern Syria on Monday. Russia has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit the area, and accused Israel of creating the dangerous conditions by failing to give sufficient advance notice.
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin initially described the downing as "tragic chance", Moscow has made its anger clear.
"Moscow views as irresponsible and unfriendly actions of Israeli Air Force, which exposed Russian Il-20 aircraft to danger and led to death of 15 servicemen," the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv said on Twitter in English, adding that Russia would "take all necessary measures to eliminate threat to life and security of our military fighting against terrorism".
Israel has struck Syria scores of times during its seven-year civil war to prevent what it says are transfers of weapons to Hezbollah fighters and other Iranian allies. Russia has largely overlooked the sorties, which the Israelis say pose no direct threat to Moscow's ally, President Bashar al-Assad.
Israel dispatched its air force chief to brief Moscow about the incident on Thursday. Expressing regret at the loss of life, Israel denied wrongdoing and blamed what it called wanton Syrian anti-aircraft fire after its jets had withdrawn back over the border.
Speaking to Army Radio, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman made clear that Israel would not halt attacks in Syria.
"We will do whatever is necessary to safeguard the security of Israel's citizens ... and we will not hold these discussions over the airwaves," he said.
But when pressed during the interview, Lieberman avoided asserting Israeli "freedom of action" over Syria, a term he has used in the past.
Naftali Bennett, another member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, said "deconfliction mechanisms" would be improved, referring to a Russian-Israeli hotline designed to avoid inadvertent clashes with forces Moscow sent to Syria as part of a military intervention mounted in 2015.
"We will of course strengthen these mechanisms. We will do everything so as not to harm anyone we do not intend to, God forbid," Bennett told Army Radio in a separate interview.
Ron Ben-Yishai, a veteran Israeli military commentator, predicted a more patient air force approach in future strikes.
"It is possible that, next time, they will say, 'Okay let's wait until the (Russian) plane goes back to its base, and then we will carry out the attack,'" Ben-Yishai told Ynet TV.
Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, who like their patron Iran have been helping Assad militarily in Syria, said Israeli strikes there would not prevent them getting advanced weaponry.
"No matter what you do to cut the route, the matter is over and the resistance possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities," Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech.