Last night, the Kuwaiti deportation officers took Gulet, along with the ticket, to the airport and were prepared to send him back to the U.S. But when he attempted to board the plane, he was told that he was barred from doing so. According to Mohad, no reason was given, but it is presumably due to the U.S.’s placement of him on the no-fly list (which State Department officials, to The New York Times, previously confirmed they had done). As a result, Gulet — thinking he was finally headed home — instead was returned to his detention facility, where he remains, and his prospects for release are now very unclear.
What’s going on here is a pure travesty. As an American citizen, Gulet has the absolute right to return to and re-enter his country. But by secretly placing him on the no-fly list while he was halfway around the world — and providing no information about why he was so placed — the U.S. Government is denying him his right to return. Worse, they know that this action is not only preventing him from returning, but is keeping the 19-year-old in a state of absolute legal limbo, where’s he imprisoned by a country that admits it has no cause for holding him and does not want to hold him, yet which cannot release him. The U.S. government has the obligation to assist its citizens when they end up detained without cause; here, they are doing the opposite: they’re deliberately ensuring it continues.
If there’s any evidence that he has has done anything wrong, he should be charged, indicted, and brought back to the U.S. for trial. What the Obama administration is doing instead is accomplishing what they could not do if he were in the U.S.: holding him without a shred of due process, interrogating him without a lawyer present, and — if his credible claims are to believed — using beatings and torture to get the information it wants (or false information: Gulet told me he was very tempted to falsely confess to make the beatings stop). This abuse of the no-fly list is a common tactic used by the U.S. Government to circumvent all legal and constitutional constraints when it comes to its own citizens; this case just happens to be extra viscerally repellent.
The law is being used to protect the powerful and exploit the weak.