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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Judge Rules: Harroun Will Await Trial From His Jail Cell

Yesterday, The New York Times published an article by Scott Shane and Rebekah Zemansky reporting that, during a hearing yesterday, Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis found probable cause to send the case against former U.S. Army Soldier Eric Harroun to a grand jury.

As you may recall from a post last week, Harroun is being prosecuted for allegedly fighting in Syria alongside rebel forces and the Nusra Front—part of al Qaeda’s branch in Iraq—and against Bashar al Assad’s government. The specific charges against Harroun include conspiring to use a destructive device outside the United States.

In so finding, Judge Davis ordered the former soldier jailed while he awaits trial saying Harroun “actively and knowingly participated in fighting with a group the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization,” according to The Times.

Shane and Zemansky emphasized the apparent contradiction this case presents between U.S. policy and practice, writing:

[T]he case underscore[s] the awkward position of the United States in the Syrian conflict, which has cost more than 70,000 lives. The Obama administration has supported opposition forces fighting the Assad government with military training and nonlethal aid. But some of the opposition’s most effective fighting has been done by the Nusra Front.

Moreover, as reported by The Times, Harroun’s attorney, federal public defender Geremy C. Kamens, said, “Never, to my knowledge, has the U.S. government charged a U.S. citizen for fighting with a group aligned with U.S. interests.”

 

You can read the full Times article here.

You can read last week’s post on the charges facing Harroun here.

You can read the criminal complaint and FBI affidavit here.

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