Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Continuing Trials of Omar Khadr

When is a 15 year old boy not a 15 year old boy? This one's easy! When he's Omar Khadr. Canada's Federal Court of Appeal has refused to hear his case immediately effectively handing the Harper government a win in its fight against Omar Khadr. Have a look at the timeline of Khadr's capture, imprisonment and interrogation as a reminder of some of the things wrong with this prosecution:

November 13 2001 - Bush issues a military order “Detention, Treatment and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War against Terrorism”, directing that Al Qaeda and the Taliban were non-state actors and protected Prisoner of War Status did not apply to captured combatants.

January 11 2002 - First prisoners arrive in Guantanamo.

Summer 2002 - Omar allegedly attends Al Qaeda training camp were he receives weapons training.

June 15 2002 - The US has alleged that during this time, Khadr conducted surveillance and reconnaissance against US forces and joined an Al Qaeda team that converted land mines into IEDs and planted them in places where US troops were expected to travel.

July 27 2002 - Omar captured by US forces after a lengthy firefight in which it is alleged that a wounded Omar threw a grenade that killed Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer and injured Sgt. Layne Morris. US soldiers open fire on Omar, hitting him three times in the chest. Omar pleads for soldiers to kill him; instead, he receives medical attention for his severe wounds. Omar loses sight in one eye as a result of these wounds

July – October 2002 - Omar transferred to hospital at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, where he undergoes aggressive interrogation immediately after regaining consciousness. Khadr states that interrogators withheld pain medication, forced him into stress positions, threw cold water at him, made him stand with his hands tied above a door frame for hours, interrogated him with a bag over his head in a room with barking dogs, and interrogated him for so long that he urinated on himself.

October 16 2002 - Omar transferred to Guantanamo Bay

December 2 2002 - Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld approves interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo. They include 1) use of stress positions; 2) detention in isolation for up to 30 days; 3)deprivation of light and auditory stimuli; 4) forced grooming; 5) removal of clothing; 6) interrogation for up to 20 hours; 7) use of detainee’s individual phobias to induce stress.

A month and one half later the above order is rescinded. Go look for yourself at the various summaries of the timeline of his arrest and move to trial by Military Tribunal (kangaroo court). What they don't say is that his family is seen in Western eyes as completely unsympathetic not only because of their ties to bin-laden before 9/11 murders but because of their appearance. Regardless of these things the fact remains he was a child on a battlefield and at worst was defending himself. Every other addmissionn he made was under duress and suspect.

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