Author’s Note: I prepared these remarks for the “Going on the Record: Resistance and Writing” panel discussion at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, but the format of the panel was changed, so I didn’t end up delivering them. The Mantle has kindly offered to publish my remarks as an essay.
Professor David J. R. Frakt earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Monroe G. McKay, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. From 1995 to 2005, he served on active duty with the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) before transitioning to academia and the Air Force Reserves, where he is now a Lieutenant Colonel. He served as Associate Professor and Director of the Criminal Law Practice Center at Western State University College of Law from May 2005 to July 2010, and as Associate Professor of Law at Barry University School of Law from August 2010 to May 2012. In 2008, he was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
From April 2008 to August 2009, Professor Frakt took a military leave of absence from teaching to serve as lead defense counsel with the Office of Military Commissions, representing two detainees at Guantanamo facing war crimes and terrorism charges before the U.S. military commissions. He was the first defense counsel to win the pretrial dismissal of all charges against his client, Mohammed Jawad, a juvenile from Afghanistan, and also won Mohammed's release through a habeas corpus petition in federal court. He was the sole defense counsel in one of the only two military commission trials completed during President Bush's tenure in office, representing Ali Hamza al Bahlul.
After presenting evidence that Mohammed Jawad had been abused by the U.S. while detained for six years at Guantanamo Bay, David Frakt argued that the abuse should result in dismissal of all charges against the young man. In support of this motion, Jawad was the first detainee to describe his torture at Guantanamo under oath in a military commission. In 2009, Jawad was repatriated to Afghanistan. Here Frakt explains how and why justice was served.