The Americas

Defendant in recovery doesn't halt 9/11 case at Guantanamo

This undated photo taken by the International Red Cross and released by lawyer Walter Ruiz, shows his client Mustafa al Hawsawi posing for a portrait while a detainee at the Guantanamo U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba. A U.S. military judge turned down a request Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, to halt the latest round of Sept. 11 war crimes proceedings at Guantanamo Bay while al Hawsawi, one of five defendants, recovers from a surgical procedure. (Mustafa al-Hawsawi via AP)

This undated photo taken by the International Red Cross and released by lawyer Walter Ruiz, shows his client Mustafa al Hawsawi posing for a portrait while a detainee at the Guantanamo U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba. A U.S. military judge turned down a request Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, to halt the latest round of Sept. 11 war crimes proceedings at Guantanamo Bay while al Hawsawi, one of five defendants, recovers from a surgical procedure. (Mustafa al-Hawsawi via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A U.S. military judge has turned down a request to halt the latest round of Sept. 11 war crimes proceedings at Guantanamo Bay while one of five defendants recovers from a surgical procedure.

Judge James Pohl says defendant Mustafa al-Hawsawi may be excused from attending pretrial hearings at the U.S. base in Cuba. But the judge says al-Hawsawi's apparently painful recovery is not a reason to cancel hearings scheduled to run through Friday.

Officials said Monday that the Saudi prisoner underwent hemorrhoid surgery at the base on Oct. 14.

Defense attorney Walter Ruiz urged the judge to postpone proceedings because the alleged conspirator in the Sept. 11 plot has been in "excruciating" pain and cannot sit in court and has experienced side effects from pain medication.