US charges Guantanamo Bay prisoner with war crimes

AP News
Posted: Jun 03, 2014 2:41 PM

MIAMI (AP) — A Guantanamo Bay prisoner accused of plotting roadside bombing attacks in Afghanistan as a commander of al-Qaida is facing a trial by military commission on war crimes charges that could put him in prison for life, officials said Tuesday.

Pentagon legal authorities have approved five war crimes charges against Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. He is to be arraigned at the U.S. base in Cuba within 30 days under military rules.

The charges include denying quarter, which involves refusing to allow the enemy to surrender, and treachery, defined under international law as pretending to be a civilian to carry out attacks.

He is also charged with attacking protected property for orchestrating attacks on a military medical helicopter, attempted treachery and conspiracy.

The charges carry a maximum of life in prison except attacking protected property, which carries a 20-year maximum.

Hadi has been held at the U.S. base in Cuba since April 2007. A native of Iraq, he is about 53, according to the Pentagon.

Prosecutors allege he was a senior al-Qaida leader and oversaw extensive operations against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

He took part in a failed al-Qaida plot to kill Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as well as a number of roadside bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan that killed civilians as well as members of the military from the U.S., Canada, Germany and other nations, prosecutors say in charging documents.

A military lawyer appointed to represent him did not respond to a request for comment.

There are two other war crimes cases pending at Guantanamo, the case against five prisoners charged in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack, and for another prisoner accused of orchestrating the 2000 attack against the USS Cole. Both are in the pretrial stage. The U.S. holds 149 prisoners at the U.S. base in Cuba.