Guantanamo – Al Qaeda’s leader Abdul Hadi al Iraqi at his cell in Guantanamo Bay detention camp refused female prison wardens walking him to pre-trial hearings.
Nashwan Abdulrazaq Abdulbaqi, who later gained fame under his Qaeda-given alias, Iraqi, appealed to his legal defense that he retains the right to skip court sessions should the guards escorting him to trial be female United States army personnel.
Earlier in January, the assumedly one of the top ten Qaeda chiefs was beyond enraged when female prison guards led him to one of his hearing sessions. Iraqi will be facing a death penalty should he be convicted of war crimes.
On one hand, prosecution and the assigned judge said that heeding Iraqi’s request will be considered gender-based discrimination against female servicepersons at the US army. On the other hand, if Iraqi stands out his trials many legal doubts would be cast over the anticipated verdict.
The second day of preliminary sessions witnessed heated debate over Iraqi’s right to attend or miss trial meetings.
Iraqi’s legal representatives also argued the US government harboring predisposed intentions to continue holding Iraqi captive in Guantanamo Bay regardless of the issued ruling.
Judge Marine Col. Peter Rubin refused to respond to Iraqi’s request, saying that assigning exclusively male guards would be discriminatory against women in the US military — he added that female military employees both enjoy rights and have duties to fulfill.
Controversy over allowing Iraqi to abstain from attendance grew only more intense, with Navy Captain Kevin Spencer stating that allowing Iraqi to miss court hearings may challenge the court’s conviction should it take place. On the premise of him not being present for the hearings will make a case for legal review, thus qualifying him for an appeal.
Cap. Spencer stressed that allowing Iraqi to do so would not only violate the rules but would trigger a ripple effect prompting similar requests from other Guantanamo detainees allegedly involved with the September 11 terror attacks.