'High-value' Guantanamo inmate charged with terrorism

An Iraqi "high-value" detainee at Guantanamo, accused of being an Al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was referred to a military court on terror charges, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Guantanamo's highest military court authority on Monday approved the charges against Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who was accused of directing fatal attacks against Americans and their allies in Pakistan and elsewhere between 2001 and 2006, a statement said.

The 53-year-old Iraqi native, transferred to Guantanamo in April 2007, was among the last to arrive at the US prison for terror suspects in Cuba. He is one of around 15 "high-value" detainees jailed in the prison's top secret "camp 7."

Prosecutors accuse Abd al-Hadi of being a leader of the al-Qaeda insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and allege Osama bin Laden assigned him to be an al-Qaeda commander in Iraq shortly before his arrest.

He is charged with "knowingly conspiring and agreeing with Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders to commit offenses" including terrorism, murder, attacks on civilians, and employing poison or similar weapons,

According to the 16-page indictment, posted on the military tribunal's web site, the Iraqi was close to bin Laden and former al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri. He also knew late Al-Qaeda military leader Mohammed Atef, as well as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, currently on trial in Guantanamo.

Prosecutors allege he plotted in 2002 to assassinate the Pakistan president and helped the suicide attacker who killed a number of Germans in Kabul in 2003.

In March 2001, they say he helped the Taliban destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan -- which had been classified as Unesco World Heritage sites.

Over the course of his al-Qaeda career, he was allegedly responsible for the deaths of Canadian, British, Norwegian, and American soldiers.

The conditions of his arrest, apparently toward the end of 2006, are unclear, but the indictment said he tried to re-enter his native Iraq using false Turkish identification.

Within the next 30 days, Abd al-Hadi will be brought before a military judge in Guantanamo, who will read out the charges against him.

Unlike the five men accused of the 9/11 attacks and the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing -- who face possible death sentences -- the Iraqi risks a maximum of life in prison.

Of 149 men still detained in Guantanamo, he is the 10th to face charges in military court under President Barack Obama. Three of those have pleaded guilty.