Updated: Saturday, 28 Feb 2009, 12:05 AM CST
Published : Saturday, 28 Feb 2009, 12:05 AM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) - A military lawyer assigned to defend a suspected Al-Qaiada mastermind is in Austin this weekend to consult with the University of Texas’ National Security Law Clinic. Major Jon Jackson is counsel to Mustafa Ahmed Al Hawsawi, the man believed to have arranged and financed the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist plots.
Al Hawsawi is one of 245 detainees still being held at Guantanamo Bay, down from a peak at one time of 770 prisoners. Gitmo will be closed one year from now and no decision has been made about where to move the prisoners. There is currently a 120 day legal stay on all proceedings at the camp, as the Obama administration grapples with several tangled legal issues. Major Jackson said all the legal minds working on these cases are in uncharted waters,
"It is the most complex, volatile, uncertain, ambiguous case I have ever dealt with. You’ve got international law, you’ve got criminal law, so everything I learned in law school is pretty much thrown out the window, and we’re starting at square one when it comes to the military commissions."
Al Hawsawi was captured in 2003 and held at a CIA black ops site until he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006. He is part of the so called 9/11 Five, considered the most dangerous and high value of all the prisoners. Even so, Major Jackson says Al Hawsawi has been better behaved than some of the others,
"Mr. Al Hawsawi has always been respectful to me. My impression of him is he’s a very respectful individual, he’s never been belligerent towards me. I can’t say that for all the accused. There have been instances where attorneys have been treated very harshly by the clients they’re trying to help."
There is speculation some or all of the Gitmo prisoners could be moved to Bagram, Afghanistan. Being Afghani soil, the detainees may again be held indefinitely and possibly without trial.