GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – An Afghan detainee said Wednesday that he wants to boycott his trial at Guantanamo Bay and railed against the proceedings as unfair and illegal.
Mohammed Jawad, who is accused of throwing a grenade that wounded two U.S. soldiers, initially refused to attend his first pretrial hearing, delaying its start. After he appeared in the courtroom, the judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, warned Jawad that if he does not attend future sessions he could still be tried, convicted and sentenced in absentia.
In combative exchanges with the judge, Jawad said he has been mistreated at Guantanamo Bay — where the U.S. military holds about 275 men suspected of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban — and denounced the tribunal system as unjust.
"I am innocent, I want justice and fairness," said Jawad, who spoke through a Pashto translator and asked the judge whether journalists could hear his statements. "Since I was arrested I've been treated unfairly. I have been tortured. I am a human being."
Jawad, who wore the orange uniform reserved for the least compliant detainees, later slammed down his translation headphones and put his head down on the desk.