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Asharq Al-Awsat Attends Trial of Qaeda’s Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi in Guantanamo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this Pentagon-approved sketch by court artist Janet Hamlin, Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi at his June 18, 2014 arraignment on war crimes charges at the US Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP)

[inset_right]Guantanamo (Cuba) – A new round of pretrial sessions for prominent al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi got underway in Guantanamo Bay on Monday.

The official trial is expected to start in a date to be specified by the court during the summer of 2018.

The military court has charged Iraqi with committing war crimes. He is also facing accusations of attacking properties and conspiring to carry out attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan between 2001 and 2004, in addition joining a terrorist organization (al-Qaeda) in 1996.

Asharq Al-Awsat was present when Iraqi entered the court accompanied by two guards. Unlike his pictures, he appeared similar to Osama bin Laden with his long white beard. He appeared quiet and sat next to his defense team, holding a rosary in his hand.

He had a brief conversation with his volunteering lawyer Brent Rushforth and shook hands with the four lawyers assigned by the US Department of Defense.

The morning session lasted three hours during which Rushforth raised doubts about the US government providing legal rights to Iraqi and he complained that the trial sessions took long because he was not given the documents and information.

According to the Pentagon, he was the link between al-Qaeda and its branch in Iraq and the head of external operations of the group. He was also known for managing training camps for terrorists in Afghanistan. During that period, he was in charge for planning attacks against US forces and Coalition forces from 2002 to 2004.

He was arrested in 2006 in Turkey, during his attempt to reach Iraq from Afghanistan following orders of Osama bin Laden to provide assistance and consultation to the group in Iraq. He was detained for 170 days by the CIA and then referred to Guantanamo in April 2007.