Tags: Al-Qaida | War on Terrorism | guantanamo | detainee | soldier | exempt

Defense: Guantanamo Detainee Is Soldier, Exempt From War Crimes Charges

Monday, 17 November 2014 05:16 PM

A U.S. military lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee described as an al-Qaida commander said on Monday he may be classified as a soldier under international war rules - and therefore exempt from prosecution - so charges against him should be dropped.

Marine Lt. Col. Tom Jasper asked a judge to dismiss multiple charges against Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi, accused of commanding attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, killing civilians and conspiring to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Jasper said Article 5 of the Third Geneva Conventions of 1949 might classify Hadi al-Iraqi as a "lawful combatant" and, as a prisoner of war, grant him immunity from prosecution for lawful acts of war.

"The bottom line, sir, is that at this point Hadi al-Iraqi could not be tried by this tribunal," Jasper told the judge during the hearing at the Guantanamo Bay prison that was shown over closed-circuit television at Fort Meade, Maryland, media center.

More evidence and hearings are needed to define Hadi al-Iraqi's status, Jasper said.

But Justice Department attorney Mikeal Clayton argued Hadi al-Iraqi should be classified not as a soldier but as a terrorist. He faces the possibility of life in prison on the charges.

State Department officials said Hadi al-Iraqi was chosen by Osama bin Laden to oversee al-Qaida 's operations in Iraq, including commanding terrorist training camps.

Clayton said al-Qaida propaganda videos describe him as "a hero to al-Qaida's cause."

The Supreme Court, ruling in 2006 in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, found al-Qaida members were not Article 5 "lawful combatants" exempt from criminal prosecution. In addition, Congress authorized the trials of al-Qaida agents under the 2009 Military Commissions Act.

Hadi al-Iraqi, 53, was captured in 2007 and has been held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay as a "high-value detainee."

In a separate issue, Hadi al-Iraqi's attorney in a court filing asked the judge to order the military to cease using female guards to shackle him. The request came after he resisted a female guard's attempt to shackle him after he met with his legal team, prompting four male guards to forcibly restrain him.

"Mr. Hadi al-Iraqi's Muslim faith requires him to avoid physical contact with any females to whom he is not married or related," his lawyer said in the documents.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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A U.S. military lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee described as an al-Qaida commander said on Monday he may be classified as a soldier under international war rules - and therefore exempt from prosecution - so charges against him should be dropped.
guantanamo, detainee, soldier, exempt
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2014-16-17
Monday, 17 November 2014 05:16 PM
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