The decision came in the case of Afghan prisoner Mohammed Jawad, who had asked a federal judge in Washington to order his release from the U.S. military prison in Cuba.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has said Jawad was only about 12 when arrested in 2002, but the Pentagon disputes that and has said bone scans indicated he had turned 18 when sent to Guantanamo in early 2003.
Jawad had been charged in a military court with throwing a grenade that injured two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter at a bazaar in Kabul in December 2002.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, who has been hearing Jawad's case seeking his release, ruled on July 17 that all his statements, including his confession, after his arrest must be thrown out because they had been obtained through torture.
She gave the Justice Department a July 24 deadline to describe the legal and factual basis for its case that Jawad should remain imprisoned.
The Justice Department said on Friday that the government will no longer treat Jawad as "detainable" under a law adopted after the Sept 11 attacks.
As a result, the Defense Department is "taking steps to house" Jawad at an appropriate camp facility at Guantanamo, it said.
Washington: The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday that it would drop its efforts to keep imprisoned one of the youngest Guantanamo Bay captives, but said he now would face a criminal investigation.
First Published: Saturday, July 25, 2009, 12:13