Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guantanamo Trial: Omar Khadr

First Guantanamo Trial Under Obama Opens

Courtroom sketch of Canadian defendant Omar Khadr (l) at his pre-trial hearing in the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, 9 Aug 2010.

10 August 2010 - Jury selection began for the first war crimes trial under U.S. President Barack Obama - when 23-year-old Canadian detainee Omar Khadr appeared Tuesday before a tribunal at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Khadr, the Toronto-born son of an alleged al-Qaida financier, is the youngest prisoner at Guantanamo and the only remaining westerner. He appeared in the courtroom dressed in a suit and tie, and greeted a panel of U.S. military officers, at least five of whom will be selected to recommend a sentence. Opening arguments could begin as early as Wednesday.

Prosecutors have accused Khadr of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. Army sergeant in Afghanistan, among other charges. He could face life in prison if convicted. Defense lawyers say Khadr - who was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15 - was himself a victim, conscripted by his father and apprenticed to a group of bomb-makers. Continued

Guantánamo trial begins for Omar Khadr, abducted at 15

August 11, 2010 - The drumhead trial for Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen seized by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was 15 years old, was set to begin yesterday at the U.S. military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after preliminary hearings concluded Monday with the presiding judge ruling that confessions Khadr made as a result of torture will be admissible. It is the first military commission trial under the Obama administration, who ran for office in 2008 on a pledge to shut down the prison camp.


A U.S. military psychiatrist has said that Khadr, who has now spent a third of his life at Guantánamo, is under extreme psychological stress after years of living through torture, abuse and appalling conditions. He has been subjected to stress positions, beatings, humiliations—including being used as a “human mop” to clean up urine, threatened attack with dogs, long periods of extreme isolation and sensory as well as sleep deprivation.

The stage was set for the trial after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday refused to block the proceeding. Khadr’s military attorney, Jon Jackson, had sought an injunction so that a lower court could rule on the constitutionality of the military commissions trials. Selections for the 15-member jury trial will include at least five U.S. military officers. Continued

Omar Khadr greets jurors as trial set to begin

In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, Canadian detainee Omar Khadr attends jury selection at his war crimes trial Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010. (Janet Hamlin for CTV)

Aug. 10 2010 - Omar Khadr greeted jurors Tuesday while dressed in a grey blazer and pink tie -- attire found by his Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney, and a striking change from his white prison clothes.

The 23-year-old Toronto native seemed happy in the new clothes, according to Edney.

"He glowed -- he was allowed to feel human," Edney told reporters. "When we walked into the courtroom, everyone gasped."

Edney found the clothes in a closet on Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, where the trial is being held.

The jury selected Tuesday is made up of 11 men and four women, all from the U.S. military. Judge Col. Patrick Parrish began the selection by instructing the 15 potential jurors on the applicable laws. Continued

Teen fighter on trial at Guantanamo

Aug. 10: NBC national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reports live from Guantanamo Bay on the trial of child soldier Omar KKhadr and the restrictive rules on the media trying to report from the scene.

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