PoliticsIraqi Prisoner Recovering From Emergency Surgery at Guantánamo

Iraqi Prisoner Recovering From Emergency Surgery at Guantánamo


An Iraqi prisoner who has pleaded responsible to conflict crimes is recovering from emergency surgical procedure on his backbone and associated problems at Guantánamo Bay, in response to authorized filings, in a case that illustrates the challenges of caring for ailing and growing older detainees on the distant U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

The operation was the sixth for the prisoner, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who’s in his 60s, on the outpost since 2017. The bottom sometimes sends U.S. service members and different residents to the US for complicated care. However Congress has forbidden the switch of the 35 males held there as conflict prisoners to the US for any cause.

A neurosurgical workforce fastened screws, added titanium cages and eliminated rods inserted into Mr. Hadi’s again in a prolonged operation on Nov. 12, in response to a court docket submitting by a jail physician. The prisoner required blood transfusions in the course of the process and suffered an unintended tear in his spinal twine. The physician described the tear as a “frequent complication” and mentioned a neurosurgeon plugged it with a muscle graft, suture and seal.

The physician included the account in a submitting for the choose within the case of Mr. Hadi, who has pleaded responsible to conflict crimes fees associated to deadly assaults on allied troopers in 2003 and 2004 in Afghanistan, the place he had been a co-conspirator with Osama bin Laden and different high Qaeda leaders. His sentencing has been postponed till 2024 however might embrace a switch to a different nation; his Pentagon-paid lawyer has been touring abroad looking for a nation to obtain him and supply him lifelong medical care, in response to court docket filings.

The case has highlighted the constraints of so-called expeditionary medication — the observe of mobilizing specialists and tools to Guantánamo’s small Navy hospital particularly for the jail inhabitants.

This previous yr, the Pentagon despatched a mentally ailing prisoner again to Saudi Arabia for remedy and repatriated the jail’s eldest detainee, a 75-year-old Pakistani man with coronary heart illness who had refused a Pentagon proposal to undertake a primary ever cardiac catheterization on the jail.

Legal professionals for different detainees, citing medical consultants, say a few of the prisoners who’ve spent greater than twenty years in U.S. captivity are more and more in want of complicated well being care — together with remedy for mind accidents and gastrointestinal issues blamed on their abuse of their earliest years of detention. Jail medical doctors have described the detainees as having a variety of typical geriatric situations, together with diabetes and hypertension, in addition to despair and different psychological diseases.

A local of Iraq who additionally obtained Afghan citizenship, Mr. Hadi has been held by the US because the C.I.A. took custody of him in Turkey in 2006. He has lengthy suffered degenerative disc illness in his backbone, a situation that grew to become acute in 2017 when guards found him incontinent in his cell. 5 surgical procedures adopted at Guantánamo in lower than a yr.

Docs had for a while proposed to do that month’s surgical procedure on a nonemergency foundation. However the state of affairs grew to become pressing on Nov. 7, when Mr. Hadi informed jail employees that he had misplaced feeling under his backbone.

Mr. Hadi was liable to everlasting paralysis, his legal professionals mentioned in an announcement, primarily based on session with a training neurosurgeon. In a U.S. setting, the legal professionals mentioned, quoting their knowledgeable, he would have been rushed into surgical procedure the day his situation was found. However a workforce and tools wanted to be mobilized to Guantánamo. So the process came about 5 days later.

The jail physician’s account filed with the court docket didn’t characterize the size of the operation, or whether or not it was successful. It famous that the surgical procedure workforce had stayed afterward to watch the progress of the prisoner, who fainted from ache the day after the operation when navy medical employees members tried to get him on his ft to start a rehabilitation course of anticipated to final months.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Cesar H. Santiago, declined to touch upon the emergency and end result of the surgical procedure, citing privateness issues.

Whereas the prisoner’s identify has been made public in court docket filings, the identities of the surgeon and different medical employees chargeable for Mr. Hadi’s care have by no means been disclosed. The jail physician wrote in his court docket submitting that his identify was being withheld from the general public to guard himself and his household from potential threats.

Mr. Hadi’s subsequent court docket listening to is scheduled for Feb. 13.


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