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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | U.S. | Police State and Prisons
Guantánamo judge rules Omar Khadr, arrested at 15, can be tried as war criminal
Thursday, May 8, 2008 :Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was shot and detained by US Special Forces troops in Afghanistan in July 2002 when he was 15 years old, goes before a drumhead military tribunal at the US detention camp in Guantánamo, Cuba today. Arrested as a child, he is now charged as a war criminal and faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted by the US military officers who are to decide his fate.
Of all the many violations of international law committed by Washington in its global war on terrorism the prolonged detention and now prosecution of this youth is undoubtedly one of the most repugnant.
Thursdays hearing follows a decision last week by a US military judge to reject a motion by defense attorneys that, because Omar was a child when captured by US forces, he is entitled under international law to protection and assistance, rather than being subjected to prosecution.
Colonel Peter Brownback issued a brief ruling in which he described the international statutes dealing with the protection of children involved in armed conflict as interesting as a matter of policy, but made it clear that they would have no impact on the kangaroo court proceedings organized by the White House and the Pentagon at Guant·namo.
The upcoming trial represents the continuation of the vicious persecution of Omar Khadr that has gone on for nearly six years. Now 21, he has spent more than a quarter of his life in US detention, much of it while being subjected to solitary confinement, sensory deprivation, abusive interrogations and outright torture. Throughout this time, he has been denied education or any regular access to his family.Read More