Terrorism Trials & Investigations

Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week's Hearing in Al-Hadi

By Wells Bennett
Monday, September 15, 2014, 12:00 PM

On the docket today and tomorrow at Guantanamo: argument on the government's motion to protect national security information in United States v. Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi. The Chief Prosecutor issued a statement in advance of the pre-trial hearing, which commences this afternoon at 1 p.m.  The statement opens:

Good evening. Since we last met, there have been solemn ceremonies to observe the passage of thirteen years since the September 11th attacks. Such observances never fail to renew the commitment of all in public service to defend our Constitution and way of life. The ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which I was privileged to attend last week, certainly renewed mine. The heartbreak and sense of loss welled forth again with each sounding of the bells. And the valor and selflessness brought forth on that day once more inspired us, even as we continue to mourn the sacrifice of the passengers and crew and to grieve for the family members of everyone who died in the attacks.

Tomorrow, the Military Commission convened to try the charges against Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi will hold its first day of sessions without panel members present since he was arraigned on 18 June 2014. Abd al Hadi was arraigned on charges that, as a senior member of al Qaeda, he conspired with and led others in a series of unlawful attacks and related offenses in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere from 2001 to 2006. These attacks and other offenses allegedly resulted in the death and injury of U.S. and coalition service members and civilians. For his alleged role in these attacks and related offenses, Abd al Hadi is charged with denying quarter; attacking protected property; using and attempting treachery or perfidy; and conspiring and agreeing with Usama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders to commit terrorism, deny quarter, use treachery or perfidy, murder protected persons, attack protected property, attack civilians, attack civilian
objects, and employ poison or similar weapons.

I emphasize that the charges against the Abd al Hadi are only allegations. He is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Matters under consideration by a military commission in this or any other particular case are authoritatively dealt with by the presiding judge, and any comments addressing systemic issues that are the subject of frequent questions by interested observers should always be understood to defer to
specific judicial rulings, if applicable.