Gitmo Detainee, Captured When He Was 15, To Stand Trial. Justice Denied?
Omar Ahmed Khadr, captured when he was 15 and accused of killing a U.S. soldier and partially blinding another, goes on trial today. He released a letter through his attorneys that says, “If the world sees the U.S. sentencing a child to life in prison,” he wrote, “it might show the world how unfair and [a] sham this process is.”
Born in Canada and raised in a family closely associated with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 at the time and was taken after a firefight in which he is accused of tossing a grenade that killed Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, an Army Special Forces soldier, and wounded Staff Sgt. Layne Morris.
Since his capture, Khadr has alleged he was tortured, held in harsh conditions and kept from his family and attorneys, and suffered deep emotional distress and borderline mental illness. When he arrived at the prison, he was given children’s books to prepare him for sessions with American interrogators; now, if convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of the rest of his life behind bars.
His attorneys say he is being denied due process and should be tried in Canada because the U.S. military commission system is “second class justice.”
“This kind of discrimination is something we cannot stand for as a country,” said defense lawyer Army Lt. Col. Jon S. Jackson.Click here for reuse options!
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