In 2018, the Trump administration instigated and coordinated an Iraqi extradition request for Omar Ameen, falsely accusing him of being an ISIS commander and murderer. The Trump administration then leveraged these false charges to serve their narrative of Muslim refugees coming into the United States as a “Trojan horse”: former Secretary Pompeo cited Omar’s arrest to justify cutting the 2019 FY refugee resettlement quota to an unprecedented low.
Any close examination of the accusations would have revealed internal inconsistencies and irregularities consistent with fraud. Meanwhile, the Government ignored and even suppressed overwhelming evidence of Ameen’s innocence. It turned out that the FBI paid an Iraqi militia leader to be an informant and collect false claims against Omar.
After almost three years of Omar’s solitary confinement in federal detention, the judge in Omar’s case found that Omar’s defense met the nearly impossible legal standard of “obliterating probable cause.” As Judge Brennan wrote of the prosecution’s case: “this series of events is simply not plausible.”
Ameen should have been freed that same afternoon and reunited with his family. Instead, he was transferred straight to ICE for deportation proceedings in Bakersfield, CA. As the immigration judge just decided, if Omar is sent back to Iraq, he will face the same fate as if he had been extradited: a sham trial and near certain death penalty. For now, Omar’s removal to Iraq has been blocked by the immigration court. His fight for freedom and safety in the United States continues.
Omar is an innocent man who has been grievously wronged by the U.S. Government. The Biden administration has the opportunity to publicly repudiate this holdover of the Trump administration, rehabilitate the maligned US refugee resettlement program, and end this injustice.