Tag: Omar Khadr (page 2)

Four Reporters Banned from Omar Khadr Gitmo Hearings

Four reporters, including Michelle Shepphard of the Toronto Star, who has done ground-breaking reporting on Omar Khadr, have been banned from attending the hearings underway in his case.

Their violation: Publishing the name of one of his interrogators. The interrogator's name has previously been published in news articles, and he gave on on-the-record interview to Michelle Shepphard in 2008. The ACLU responds:

“That reporters are being punished for disclosing information that has been publicly available for years is nothing short of absurd – any gag order that covers this kind of information is not just overbroad but nonsensical. Plainly, no legitimate government interest is served by suppressing information that is already well known.

We strongly urge the Defense Department to reconsider its rash, draconian and unconstitutional decision to bar these four reporters from future tribunals. If allowed to stand, this decision will discourage legitimate reporting and add yet another entry to the long list of reasons why the military commissions ought to be shut down for good.”

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Omar Khadr Hearing Shows Lack of Reliability of Statements Obtained Coercively

The military commission proceedings against Canadian child soldier Omar Khadr continued this week. At issue is the voluntariness of the statements the then 15 year old made after being found in a pile of rubble, shot three times and blinded in one eye.

Was he provided pain medication? Apparently not. (More on that here.) Yet the CIA agent who "interviewed" him (after the military and the FBI got their turn) testified:

CIA agent, Robert Fuller, testified that he treated Khadr very well, brought him water and snacks, and that Khadr "appeared happy - as happy as he could be." Khadr never complained to him of abuse, Fuller says.

The information Khadr provided turned out to be false. And to have grave consequences. Remember Maher Arar, grabbed at JFK airport and shipped to Syria where he was tortured for a year? [More...]

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Growing Up and In Pain at Gitmo: Omar Khadr Hearings

Canadian Omar Khadr was 15 when captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The child of Jihad was blinded in one eye and shot three times by U.S. soldiers. A very gruesome picture of him laying injured on the ground is here. Then he was questioned. He has vision problems in his other eye, and is in pain from the leftover shrapnel remaining in his eyes. Guantanamo doesn't have an opthamologist. Treatment, consisting of eye drops, is dispensed by an optometrist.

He was abused and subjected to torture during his confinement. He was used as a "human mop." He was threatened with rape and extradition to Egypt.

The U.S. is trying him in a military commission proceeding. This week, hearings are underway to determine if his post-capture statements were obtained via impermissible coercive techniques.

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Hearing in Canada on Fate of Child Soldier Omar Khadr

(Omar Khadr when captured and today, via the Toronto Star)

The Supreme Court in Canada held oral arguments today in the case of Canadian child soldier Omar Khadr. According to Attorney General Eric Holder's statements today, Khadr will be among those tried by military commission.

Holder also revealed that Canadian detainee Omar Khadr will be prosecuted before a U.S. military tribunal – but the attorney general indicated the U.S. government will remain open to the possibility returning detainee Omar Khadr to Canada, depending on the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing underway today in Ottawa.


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Guantanamo Lawyers Squabble: An Embarrassment for All

Omar Khadr's lawyers continued their bickering in court today. The military judge scolded them and praised Canadian detainee Omar Khadr for his good behavior. Khadr has been detained since he was captured in Afghanistan at age 15. He's now 22. (Background here.)

A visibly angry Parrish lashed out at Khadr's lawyers and encouraged the Toronto-born captive to meet with them again during today's session. He commended Khadr for being "well spoken" and warned the lawyers to act in a "professional and dignified" manner. Khadr said it wasn't possible. "They just had a fight this morning," he told Parrish.

Today's hearing was considered an embarrassment for Guantanamo's defence office and the Obama administration, which has asked to have the cases suspended until the fall and pledged to close this prison by January.

But, the Judge made Omar pick between the dueling military lawyers. He wants his own Canadian lawyers, but under the misguided, inadequate military tribunal rules, he can't have them, except in an advisory capacity.[More...]

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Omar Khadr Trial in Limbo

Update: Evidence in Terror Trials in Chaos: Military defense lawyers say the the re-referral of charges may have been an "accidental mistake." Several cases are in evidentiary chaos.

Teen soldier Omar Khadr, a true child of Jihad, has been set for trial by military commission at Guantanamo on January 26. That would give President Obama 7 days from his swearing in to abolish the unfair tribunals created by the the Bush Administration under the Military Commissions Act.

Unlike closing Guantanamo, which could take Obama months or a year -- even if he enters an executive order commanding the closure upon taking office -- stopping the military commissions trials can be done immediately.

Today, in an unexpected move, the official overseeing the military commission trials withdrew the charges against Khadr and the other four detainees facing trial by military tribunal and refiled them, which has the effect of voiding all proceedings that have taken place to date. In other words, the trial dates are off as they start from scratch. [More...]

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Omar Khadr's Guantanamo Hearing Today

Omar Khadr, the Canadian captured as a teen on the battlefield in Afghanistan, has a hearing today in his military commissions proceeding at Guantanamo.

Most human rights and legal experts say the evidence against Khadr seems too weak to be able to hold up in a US civil court or an ordinary military tribunal.

Khadr could then become the first beneficiary of the closing of the Guantanamo detention facility.

The ACLU is monitoring from Gitmo. [More...]

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Federal Judge Denies Relief to Guantanamo Teenage Detainee

Canadian Omar Khadr, facing a military commissions trial, got no relief today in federal court when the judge refused to block his trial. Now 22, he's been held at Guantanamo since age 15 when captured during a gunfight in Afghanistan.

Khadr argued in pleadings in U.S. District Court that the Military Commissions Act doesn't give the military the ability to try juveniles. He also challenged his status as an "enemy combatant" saying U.S. law doesn't recognize juveniles as members of groups like al-Qaida; and he said that he should have been detained in "a rehabilitation and reintegration program appropriate for former child soldiers" instead of being mixed in with adults at Guantanamo Bay.

He has also alleged previously he was tortured. [More...]

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Omar Khadr Video of Gitmo Questioning Released

Lawyers for Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, 15 when captured in Afghanistan and brought to Guantanamo Bay, have released this video of his questioning. From the accompanying BBC news article:

During the 10-minute video - filmed secretly through a ventilation shaft - Mr Khadr can be seen crying, his face buried in his hands, and pulling at his hair. He can be heard repeatedly chanting: "Help me."

At one point he tells the foreign ministry official and agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) that he was tortured while being held at the US military detention centre at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. He raises his orange shirt to show wounds and tells them: "You don't care about me."

His lawyer says: [More...]

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Omar Khadr Gitmo Trial Set for Oct 8

Omar Khadr, arrested in Afghanistan at age 15 and who has now spent 1/4 of his life at Guantanamo Bay, was given a trial date today of October 8. He faces life in prison.

Omar is a Canadian citizen and a "child of jihad." The Canadian press has been providing excellent coverage of his case. All of our coverage is accessible here.

Omar should be turned over to an international tribunal. He was a child at the time of his capture making him protected by the Geneva Convention on the Rights of the Child. Amnesty International has a full report here.

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Pentagon Replaces Omar Khadr Judge Who Chastised Prosecution

Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr has a new Judge. The Pentagon replaced his old one, Col. Peter Brownback, apparently displeased at some of his rulings favorable to Khadr.

At a May 7 hearing, Col. Brownback threatened to suspend the entire case over the prosecution's failure to hand over Mr. Khadr's Guantanamo confinement records.

Navy Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler, Mr. Khadr's chief military lawyer, sought the so-called Detainee Information Management System records, or DIMS, to develop a detailed picture of Mr. Khadr's treatment during detention.

Khadr's lawyer says the records would support Omar's claim he was subjected to torture or abuse while being interrogated. [More...]

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Canadian Court Rules Canada Violated Omar Khadr's Rights

Big news today in the case of "child soldier" Canadian Omar Khadr, who was seized in Afghanistan at age 15 and has been held ever since at Guantanamo. He and his lawyers have been preparing for trial by military commission.

The Canadian Supreme Court today ruled Omar is entitled to reports on his detention and interrogation. The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the federal government to hand over information to alleged terrorist Omar Khadr that it gleaned from interrogation sessions that Canadian agents held with him in 2003.

The ACLU issued this press release (no link yet, received by e-mail):

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) ruled today that Canadian officials violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – analogous to the U.S. Bill of Rights – by turning over interrogation records of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr to the United States. The court reached this result after finding that, at the time Canadian officials interrogated him, Khadr was being detained and prosecuted at Guantánamo in violation of U.S. and international law.


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