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Qaeda Commander at Guantánamo Bay Is Sentenced for War Crimes

U.S.Qaeda Commander at Guantánamo Bay Is Sentenced for War Crimes

A former Qaeda battlefield commander who admitted that his insurgents killed 17 U.S. and allied forces in wartime Afghanistan in the early 2000s will spend eight more years in prison under a plea agreement disclosed on Thursday.

The prisoner, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, 63, has been in U.S. custody since 2006 and struck the deal two years ago. The military judge, Col. Charles L. Pritchard Jr., officially disclosed the terms at Guantánamo Bay moments after a military jury ordered Mr. Hadi to serve 30 years in prison, the maximum sentence in his war crime case.

The outcome was part of the arcane system called military commissions, which allows prisoners to reach plea deals with a senior official at the Pentagon who oversees the war court but requires the formality of a jury sentencing hearing anyway.

The jury of 11 officers rejected arguments by Mr. Hadi’s defense lawyer that the prisoner deserved leniency, if not clemency, for his early humiliations in C.I.A. custody, subsequent cooperation with U.S. investigators and failing health.

“Justice was served today,” said Bill Eggers, whose son Capt. Daniel Eggers, 28, was killed in a roadside bombing carried out by Mr. Hadi’s fighters. Mr. Eggers, who has been attending proceedings in the case since 2017, said he viewed the jury decision to give Mr. Hadi the harshest of possible sentences a just conclusion, the plea deal reduction notwithstanding.

Mr. Eggers and his daughter were among six people who testified last week about their loss in the two-week sentencing trial.


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