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Captured Al-Qaeda Commander Fires Military Lawyers, Delaying Case

The exterior of Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay.
The exterior of Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay.

An Iraqi prisoner accused of running Al-Qaeda’s army in Afghanistan fired his two military lawyers on September 22, indefinitely stalling the only war-court case that had been moving toward trial.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi did not say why he dismissed his two lawyers, and the judge, Navy Captain J.K. Waits, did not ask.

“Your right to counsel does not include...a ‘meaningful relationship’ between yourself and your counsel. You don’t have to like them,” the judge said before releasing the lawyers from the case.

Hadi, in a white tunic and turban, replied that it was unfair to blame him for the delays in his case. He arrived at Guantanamo Bay in 2007 and was arraigned in 2014. He’s had three legal teams.

“I stayed here in Guantánamo for seven years and six months without trial, and then after that, my case was sent to court. It took a long time,” Hadi said through an interpreter.

"First the charges were stated to me, and then they were changed," he said. "Then my meetings with my defense were spied on."

Based on reporting by Reuters and the Miami Herald