Omar Khadr to Face Military Tribunal: US Justice on Trial
Omar Khadr will face a military tribunal this week to decide his fate. Will he be sentenced to life in prison? Will he be repatriated to Canada? Will he go free?
In this long sorry saga of Guantanamo Prison in Cuba, Omar Khadr has been a most unfortunate pawn. Omar Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade during a fire fight in Afghanistan in which a US soldier was killed. Omar Khadr was seriously wounded during the gun battle and subsequently lost the sight in one eye. Omar Khadr was 15 years old at the time.
His defence team says the interrogations began as Khadr lay shackled to a stretcher at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, regaining consciousness in a hospital for the first time since U.S. soldiers shot him during the gunfight a week earlier.
Defence lawyers say that during at least 142 interrogations at Bagram and Guantanamo, Khadr was beaten, doused in freezing water, spat on, chained in painful positions, forced to urinate on himself, terrorized by barking dogs, subjected to flashing lights and sleep deprivation and threatened with rape.
Prosecutors contend Khadr was treated humanely and has fabricated the abuse allegations.
The US forces invaded Afghanistan along with other NATO forces in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Omar Khadr's family is a well known supporter of Osama bin Laden and his father, Ahmed Said Khadr was an alleged financier of the terrorist group al-Qaida. Omar Khadr's mother resides in Canada and is an outspoken supporter of Osama bin Laden. When Khadr was shot and captured he was 15 years old.
Omar Khadr's Journey
Omar Khadr was then transferred out of Afghanistan and imprisoned in the offshore, black prison in Cuba. Because it was not technically on US soil, human rights as we know them in the West did not have to be observed. This prison was set up by the US military to hold those considered to be dangerous terrorists. This prison was for dangerous men. Omar Khadr was 15 at the time. He has now been imprisoned in an offshore prison for men for nearly eight years.
Canada's Role in this Miscarriage of Justice
The government of Canada has refused to ask for Omar Khadr's repatriation. He remains the only Western captive still in Guantanamo Prison. Canada's Supreme Court ruled in January that Omar Khadr's rights had been violated yet the federal government refuses to request repatriation.
What is a Child Soldier?
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000)
The protocol sets 18 as the minimum age for direct participation in hostilities, for recruitment into armed groups, and for compulsory recruitment by governments.
Child soldiers are not to be treated like those older than 18 but are to be rehabilitated. The US and Canada are signatories to this agreement.
Omar Khadr was 15 when he was imprisoned at Guantanamo Military Prison in Cuba.