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    Al Iraqi defense motions for no female contact

    Al Iraqi defense motions for no female contact

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Adrian Borunda | Marine Lt. Col. Thomas Jasper, defense counsel for Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, answered...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Adrian Borunda 

    Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs

    GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - Female guard members testified January 26-29 in pre-trial Military Commissions hearing regarding a defense motion to request the Military Commissions judge halt all touching of Abd al Hadi al Iraqi by female guard force members.

    Navy Judge Capt. Kirk Waits heard oral arguments from the prosecution and defense as well as testimony from female camp escort guards and the current and former camp commanders. The prosecution led with the argument that limiting contact solely to male guards would compromise the mission capability of the guard force overtime. All of the witnesses’ names were withheld for operational security reasons.

    “When I have to pull a female off who has been trained and validated as a military police Soldier, as a guard, they're not part of the team anymore,” said the current camp commander.

    The initial court order came after an in-camp incident Oct. 8, 2014. Al Iraqi, who was being moved from a legal meeting back to his cell, refused to be touched by a female guard member who was part of the escorting team and had to touch him as part of the standard procedures. Al Iraqi claims physical contact with a non-family member female is against his religious beliefs and complained to the detention group commander.

    Army Maj. David Long, assistant prosecutor said, “The accused has to demonstrate the policy of the inclusion of female guards at Camp VII is therefore unreasonable, something that they have not been able been able to do.”

    Al Iraqi was forced back to his cell and eventually petitioned the Military Commission’s judge to issue an order forbidding female contact. The judge issued an interim order in November and in the hearings held 26-29 January prosecution and defense argued whether that order should be made permanent.

    The prosecution argued that the guard force’s operational needs, unit cohesion and the Soldiers’ professional development should outweigh the detainee’s religious preference.

    Additionally, it was argued that the impact on mission cohesion would result in undue stress that would be brought about by switching to an all male guard force.

    “If you're doing something and you know this person always does this every time and you're used to that, and then you put a new person in there, then you run that risk of … starting to second-guess yourself, which – which is not very good,” said a senior enlisted camp guard.

    Marine Lt. Col. Thomas Jasper, Defense counsel for al Iraqi, noted the religious and moral obligation to respect the religious beliefs of al Iraqi.

    Female guard touching is “religiously offensive. Unwanted touching by women violates Mr. Hadi al Iraqi's sincerely held religious beliefs and is a sin under the Muslim religion,” Jasper said.

    Jasper went on to say that the lack of effort by the camp staff to adjust to Iraqi’s religious necessities is no reason that they can’t accomplish the mission with an all male force.

    “[They say] It's too hard. Let's have a pity party and have a rallying cry over this issue and quit, not even try. That's what you heard yesterday for six hours,” Jasper said in his final arguments.

    The judge did not rule on the motion. The judge’s decision is expected sometime in the coming months.



    Date Taken: 02.06.2015
    Date Posted: 02.06.2015 08:38
    Story ID: 153739
    Location: GUANTANAMO BAY, CU 

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