Al Qaeda Chief: Use of Female Guard Denies Him Justice, Violates Muslim Rights
An Al Qaeda leader and close associate of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) accused the U.S. government of denying him justice because a female guard escorted him to a recent court hearing in violation of his Islamic religious beliefs. His name is Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, one of 17 high-value prisoners at the U.S. military compound in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and he’s being tried for running Al Qaeda’s army in Afghanistan, ordering attacks against American and coalition forces and civilians.
Judicial Watch was present at Hadi’s proceedings and has covered almost all the Military Commission hearings since KSM’s arraignment in 2008. The Department of Defense (DOD) approved Judicial Watch to monitor the terrorist trials as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and Judicial Watch attorneys, investigators and reporters have witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military and civilian lawyers involved in the proceedings. Trials and hearings are held in a specially constructed, top security courtroom at the Naval Station in southeastern Cuba. Judicial Watch has also covered every proceeding conducted by President Obama’s special Guantanamo Periodic Review Board (PRB) via live broadcasts at the Pentagon. Comprised of senior officials from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, the board reviews whether continued detention of certain individuals remains necessary to protect against significant threat to the security of the United States.
The charges against Hadi, an Iraqi national in his 50s, extend more than ten pages and outline his relationship with Osama bin Laden and plans to execute Al Qaeda’s objectives of “killing Americans and other civilians.” He is also charged with killing a U.S. solider, injuring and killing numerous German soldiers and planning a number of other attacks. In 2002, Hadi and KSM plotted to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, according to his DOD charging document. At the same time, KSM gave Hadi $100,000 for Al Qaeda operations and Hadi ordered numerous attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan as well as civilians working for the United Nations. Hadi was captured in Gaziantep, Turkey while traveling from Afghanistan to Iraq in October 2006, the military file states.
During a recent arraignment in Gitmo, Hadi refused to be transferred to the courtroom by a group of guards that included a female because being touched by a strange woman violates his religious beliefs. His attorneys asked the military judge to replace the female guard with a man, but the judge refused. No criminal justice system in the world allows the defendant to decide the rules of the court. Furthermore, sidelining a woman at the request of the defendant goes against any moves the military has made to treat men and women equally. Hadi was eventually brought into the courtroom against his will, shackled into a wheelchair with straps that resembled a seatbelt on an airplane. He waved his arms, requesting permission to address the court and the military judge allowed it. Hadi rambled on about his religious rights and said that when a female guard tries to escort him he will not be able to meet with his lawyers and won’t come to court. “So I don’t know how we can achieve justice here,” he told the judge. A Middle Eastern news report on Hadi’s arraignment points out that the Islamic State is notorious for raping helpless Kurdish women and no extremist organization, including Al Qaeda, complains that it violates Islamic rules.
In 2015 Hadi’s attorneys filed a request for religious accommodation with the Office of Military Commissions in an effort to dictate the compound’s guard schedule. The document says Hadi is a “devout Muslim” and it’s a violation of his Islamic faith to have physical contact with females that aren’t his wife or close relatives. “Islam is two things—worship and rules,” the document states. “Both come from God as revealed to the Prophet.” The document proceeds to reveal that Hadi has been forcibly extracted three times because of his religious beliefs and that he will continue to resist when a female guard is assigned to him. “If female guards must have physical contact with me to bring me to meetings with my attorneys or to court, my faith requires me to refuse those movements, and I will continue to refuse them…”