ABOUT THE TRIAL
Next Hearing: Aug. 14-17, 2017. Expect the prosecution to take testimony, before the trial, from confessed terrorist Ahmed al Darbi who has pleaded guilty in exchange for return to his native Saudi Arabia next year to serve out his prison sentence.
Charges: The captive is charged as Abd al Hadi al Iraqi. He is accused of Denying Quarter, Attacking Protected Property, Using Treachery or Perfidy, and Attempted Use of Treachery or Perfidy in a series of attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan between about 2003 and 2004. Also, he’s accused of conspiring to commit law of war offenses. The U.S. government alleges that fighters who answered to Hadi committed a series of war crimes, including shooting at a U.S. military medevac helicopter, setting roadside charges that killed allied soldiers, and attacking civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prosecutors seek life in prison. Hadi’s is the only current, contested non-capital trial at Guantánamo.
Arraigned: June 2014
Prosecutors: Navy Commander Douglas J. Short is the lead prosecutor with support from Commander Kevin L. Flynn, Lieutenant Commander B. Vaughn Spencer, Lieutenant Commander David G. Lincoln, Marine Captains Johnathan Rudy and Eric Depue.
Defense attorneys: Washington, D.C., lawyer Brent Rushforth, a former Pentagon deputy general counsel who handled intelligence issues during the Carter administration is a volunteer, unpaid attorney serving as lead counsel. Pentagon-paid attorneys include Navy Captain Jeff Fischer, Navy Commander Aimee Cooper, civilian Adam Thurschwell, Navy Lieutenant Commander Keith B. Lofland and Air Force Major Yolanda Miller. In a June 19, 2017 decision, the judge excused Rushforth from attending the remainder of 2017 hearings for health reasons.
Four pro-bono attorneys including James G. Szymanski, Robert L. Palmer, University of California at Irvine School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Catherine Moore, an international law expert, await clearances.
Trial date: None set although in July 2016 prosecutors filed a timetable toward a summer of 2017 trial.
ABOUT THE DEFENDANT
Born: 1961 in Mosul, Iraq. Charged as Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, although through lawyers he announced in court in May 2016 that his true name is Nashwan al Tamir.
Captured: In Turkey in October 2006, his charge sheet alleges, trying to reach Iraq from Afghanistan by order of Osama bin Laden “to advise and assist” al-Qaida in Iraq. He was held for 170 days by the CIA but not subjected to the spy agency’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, according to page 448 of the Senate Intelligence Committee study of the secret detention program, then brought to Guantánamo in April 2007.
Paramilitary background: He is the only professionally trained soldier to go before the war court. He was part of Saddam Hussein’s army, a non-commissioned officer in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, according to his American lawyers, then fled Iraq for Afghanistan after Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, before the start of Operation Desert Storm.
Adding to the puzzle, a CIA profile of the captive released on his arrival at Guantánamo called his “true name” Nashwan Abd al-Razzaq Abd al-Baqi.
ABOUT THE VICTIMS
His 2014 charge sheet does not name names but does mention a series of attacks that killed troops.
▪ It alleges he led and executed an attack on U.S. forces near Shkin, Afghanistan, around Sept. 29, 2003 and that killed a soldier and wounded two others. On Sept. 30, 2003, the Pentagon announced that Pfc. Evan W. O’Neill, 19, of Haverhill, Mass., was killed on Sept. 29 in Shkin, Afghanistan. It said O’Neill was on patrol when he was engaged by enemy forces. He died of injuries sustained during the attack. He was a third-generation soldier and an only child, according to a Boston Globe article.
▪ It also alleges that Hadi funded a Jan. 27, 2004 suicide bombing that killed a Canadian soldier. A CBC report at the time identifies that man as Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy, 26, of Conception Harbour, Newfoundland.
▪ It also alleges that Hadi funded a Jan. 28, 2004 suicide bombing that killed a British soldier and wounded members of the Estonian military. A BBC report at the time identifies that man as Private Jonathan Kitulagoda, 23, of Devon, England.
▪ It also alleges he “directed, planned, funded and trained” the people who attacked a Norwegian military convoy with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades around May 23, 2004, killing a member of the Norwegian military. A Norwegian report identifies a casualty on that day as Grenadier Tommy Roedningsby, 29.
▪ It also alleges he “ordered and funded” a May 29, 2004 roadside bomb attack near Qalat, Afghanistan, that killed four “U.S. service members.” News reports describe the four as U.S. Special Forces whose Humvee ran over a land mine in pursuit of Osama bin Laden and identify the dead as Petty Officer 1st Class Brian J. Ouellette, 37, a Navy SEAL from Waltham, Mass., and Army Special Forces Capt. Daniel Eggers, 28, from Cape Coral, Fla., and Staff Sgt. Robert Mogensen, 26, of Leesville, La., and Pfc. Joseph Jeffries, 21, of Beaverton, Ore.
▪ Aug. 15, 2017: To go home, Saudi terrorist IDs al-Qaida commander
▪ Aug. 14, 2017: Alleged al-Qaida commander has lower back problem, skips court session
▪ Aug. 11, 2017: Judge cancels U.S. video feed of terrorist’s time-capsule testimony
▪ April 24, 2017: Prosecutors want Saudi terrors to finger alleged al-Qaida commander.
▪ Jan. 9, 2017: Troops force alleged al-Qaida Army commander into war court
▪ Nov. 3, 2016: Prosecutor orders special probe of war court defense teams
▪ Oct. 27, 2016: New, Marine judge assigned to Guantánamo war court case
▪ July 12, 2016: Alleged al-Qaida commander returns to war court, seeks delay
▪ May 17, 2016: Alleged al-Qaida commander reveals new name
▪ Sept. 22, 2015: Alleged al-Qaida commander fires legal team, paralyzing trial
▪ March 1, 2015: Navy judge named in discrimination complaint lifts female guard no-touch order
▪ Jan. 29, 2015: Prosecutor: Female-guard dispute is al-Qaida conspiracy
▪ Jan. 26, 2015: Female guards file discrimination complaints against war court judges
▪ Nov. 17, 2014: Prosecutors: Prison needs female guards touching, moving ex-CIA captives
▪ Nov. 10, 2014: Judge orders prison to stop using female guards to move prisoner to lawyer meetings
▪ Oct. 30, 2014: War court censors word ‘female’ in legal argument
▪ Oct. 16, 2014: New coed guard duty causing ruckus at high-value prison
▪ Sept. 15, 2014: Iraqi captive gets Marine lawyer who invaded Iraq
▪ June 23, 2014: Iraqi wants civilian attorney war court to navigate Afghanistan, Iraq
▪ June 18, 2014: Iraqi appears in Guantánamo court on war crimes charges
▪ June 2, 2014: Pentagon OKs war crimes trial for Iraqi at Guantánamo