BAGHDAD (Middle East Eye) – A U.S. Marine Corps judge has ordered Guantanamo Bay prison’s medical staff to submit an emergency report regarding an Iraqi detainee who has suddenly suffered from paralysis in his legs.
Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, 60, had a medical emergency and was reported to have lost feeling in his lower legs on Wednesday evening and is not able to walk or stand, his lawyer told Middle East Eye.
“It’s my understanding that right now he can’t walk,” his lawyer Susan Hensler told MEE.
In an emergency notice filed by defense lawyers and seen by MEE, Hadi was informed that he required specialist care, but such “treatment was not available for several weeks”.
Scott Roehm, who runs the Washington office for the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), noted that if such a medical case were taking place in the U.S., a person would see a specialist “within hours”.
“If he can’t walk, he should be in a hospital, not a cell,” Roehm told MEE, adding that other detainees have had to carry Hadi in order for him to use the bathroom.
The judge in Hadi’s case, Lt Col Michael Zimmerman, said in ordering the report that the latest health update filed with the court on 2 September listed “no significant change in the Accused’s medical status”.
A U.S. Southern Command spokesperson told MEE in an email that “we do not discuss individual medical treatment of detainees”.
Hadi was captured in Turkey in 2006 and held by the CIA as a “high value detainee” before being transferred to the prison at Guantanamo Bay the year after. He is accused of commanding Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan that allegedly committed war crimes against U.S. and its allied troops.
Hadi, who says his real name is Nashwan al-Tamir, has a degenerative spinal condition, and is among the most physically disabled of the 39 detainees at the prison.
According to CVT, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in September 2010. However, he did not receive surgical treatment until his condition became severe seven years later, when he “began to experience a significant loss of sensation in both of his feet and a loss of bladder control”.
Hadi relies on a wheelchair and walker inside the prison. He also has a padded geriatric chair and a hospital bed for court, the latter of which is kept for when heavy painkillers cause him to fall asleep.