Tag Archives: Omar Khadr

SHAME OF THE AMERICAN NATION

Omar Khadr was a sixteen year old boy from Canada whose father dragged him off to Afghanistan in order to participate in madness of the Taliban regime. During the American invasion this boy was caught in a fight, wounded twice and then arrested on charges he had killed an American soldier. There are at least two eyewitnesses who claim the man who killed the American was shot to death. But, the American government will not give up on its quest to condemn a boy to jail. Witnesses at his trial say the boy was hooded, and handcuffed to his cell with his arms held high above his shoulders. A combat medic lifted the hood and found a terrified boy crying. Mr. M, the medic, says Omar was kind and polite and assisted him to communicate with other prisoners.

When will this travesty of justice end? When will the American government accept that bullying and torturing teen age boys violates every principle of humane justice? Where is President Obama, the former teacher of constitutional law?

“Terrorist” Heading For Illinois Jail!

Omar Khadr was sixteen when captured in Afghanistan where he allegedly fired and killed an American soldier. Ordinarily, a sixteen year old teenager is treated as a child soldier and not placed in the same prison with older criminals. But, in Bush America all one has to do was to shout, “terrorist” and the rules of war, let alone human decency, were suspended. For seven years Canadian human rights advocates have been urging that Omar be sent to Canada in order for him to have a proper trial, but these efforts have been impeded on grounds he is a “terrorist.” Now, he is on his way to Illinois with a hundred other suspected “terrorists.”

Omar Khadr was seized when he was sixteen and sent to Guantanamo prison where he was interrogated as though he was an adult, kept in isolation, deprived of sleep, threatened with rape and subjected to constant humiliation. There is even a video which depicts the boy crying and calling for his mother– just like those “terrorists” do when confronted with interrogation. What will it take for President Obama to have the courage of recognizing that among real terrorists captured in Afghanistan there are also children and individuals who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Are Children Considered War Criminals?

The ordeal of Omar Khadr continues as the prime minister of Canada decided to support American plans to place Mr. Khadr on trial for killing a US soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. The Canadian Federal Court of Appeals ordered PM Stephen Harper to seek the return of the now 22 year-old Khadr from the United States. Khadr is the only westerner still jailed in Guantanamo where he faces murder charges for what he allegedly did when a fifteen year old. Harper constantly repeats the mantra that “Omar Khadr has been accused of serious crimes(including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism and spying, all in violation of the rules of war.”

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeals believes their nation violated Khadr’s rights and the principles of fundamental justice. A fifteen year old boy captured in the midst of battle, interrogated by foreign troops is hardly able to defend himself under any standard of human justice. In the United States a fifteen year-old facing murder charges would immediately have access to legal counsel and his rights as a child would be taken into consideration. The bottom line is we will never know if his confession was coerced.

The boy undoubtedly needs counseling and emotional assistance in order to return to society.

Investigate No Evil Says Pentagon

The Pentagon once again has turned down requests from lawyers defending the treatment of Omar Khadr, a Canadian boy, who was accused of engaging in terrorism in Afghanistan. Khadr’s lawyers insist there is sufficient evidence their client was suffocated, physically assaulted, denied pain medication, threatened with rape and forced to stand for hours with his hands handcuffed to the top of a cell. Kahdr was wounded in Afghanistan and was brought to the interrogation room even while still recovering from his wounds. Navy Commander William Kuebler, who has been defending Khadr, claims initial findings about treatment of Khadr support his contention that torture occurred.

The Pentagon denied that any mistreatment took place and insists the entire matter has been “thoroughly investigated.” Kuebler believes the Pentagon is engaging in a whitewash and refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of torture and abuse inflicted on a boy by American military interrogators.

Bid To Dismiss Charges Against Omar Khadr Fails

Lawyers for Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr lost their bid to have charges against him dropped due to unlawful procedures surrounding the case. The military judge presiding over the case of a Canadian boy decided that senior official General Thomas Hartmann did not improperly influence military prosecutors who were handling the case. Two judges had already dismissed the general from other cases due to his conduct. At the pre-trial hearing for Khadr last month, Hartmann was described as overbearing and tactless and alleged to have over-stepped his role as legal advisor and became instead the “defacto chief prosecutor.” However, Col. Patrick Parrish ruled that Hartmann could not provide any legal advice because there was feeling he was not impartial.

Khadr is charged with a war crime when as a 16 year old boy he supposedly was responsible for the death of an American soldier. The case has become controversial because of numerous allegations that Khadr was tortured and that his confession was obtained due to coercion.

Guantanamo Detainee Demands Dismissal Of Charges

A defense lawyer for the young Canadian, Omar Khadr, has demanded all charges against his client be dropped due to “unlawful influences” exerted by the American government on the trial process. Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, accused Pentagon attorneys of interfering in the commission’s disclosure process by deliberately thwarting evidence that could help defend his client. Kuebler asserts the Pentago urged interrogators at Guantanamo to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify about potentially hard treatment of detainees. Kuebler was particularly upset at General Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to the military commission, who was barred from participating in the case by a military judge because he had surrendered the concept of objectivity by aligning himself to closely with the prosecution.

Cmdr. Kuebler, who undoubtedly has ruined his military career, by seeking the truth and providing his client with an excellent defense, is also upset the Pentagon removed a judge, Colonel Peter Brownback, who had been sympathetic to Kuebler’s requests.

The entire process of this trial violates every norm of objectivity and lacks any resemblance to a court of law in the United States of America. It is time to end this farce and place all defendants in civilian courts where civilian norms operate if America it to stand before the world as a defender of law and order.

Omar Khadr Tape Reveals Frightened Boy

Defense lawyers for Omar Khadr have tried for years to arouse a sense of compassion among Canadians for what has happened to the young boy but, so far, have failed. The release of a tape which shows the 16 year old being questioned by Canadian interrogators reveals a frightened boy who is crying, rocking back and forth and mumbling to himself, “oh, my mother.” Reaction among Canadians so far is mixed with some having scant sympathy while others are genuinely shocked. Unfortunately, for Khadr, the Canadian government continues uttering its mantra that it will not interfere with the US justice system, a belief that implicitly supports the legality of the Guantanamo military court system.

At the time of Khadr’s interrogation the then Canadian government of Prime Minister Paul Martin insisted, “we have been given assurances by the Americans that he is being treated in a humane way and we take the Americans at their word.” Of course, President Bush has emphasized his administration does not engage in torture. A UN committee has denounced the trial of a boy who was sixteen at the time of the alleged incident and warned that America was establishing a dangerous precedent.

It is time to reject the idea a teenager should be regarded as an adult. Khadr’s family is most probably supporting the al-Qaeda movement which should be even more reason not to put on trial a child who was heavily influenced by his parents.

Omar Khadr Case Continues Upsetting Canada

Seven years have passed since American forces swept through Afghanistan and gathered up hundreds of prisoners who allegedly were members of the Taliban. The case of Omar Khadr continues haunting those who believe many innocent people were caught in the web of anger that surrounded the arrest of those individuals. Omar Khadr was a fifteen year-old boy who was encouraged by his al-Qaida loving father to fight in Afghanistan and since that time has been a prisoner in Guantanamo. Due to the brilliant work of his lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, the evidence is overwhelming that Khadr is innocent and the case against him lacks any substance. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, many Canadian lawmakers are aking that Khadr be released. Members of parliament have even written Secretary of State Rice to gain her support for the young man’s release from prison.

His lawyer has developed a plan for the rehabilitation of Khadr since returning him to a family which supports al-Qaida would prove disastrous for his future life. Kuebler wants Omar to be placed into intensive counseling and to work with a local imam regarding his misconceptions about the Muslim religion. In a sense, the Khadr case may provide a model of how to release Guantanamo prison inmates by offering them emotional and religious support in the months following their entry into society.

There is no question some of those who were imprisoned were al-Qaida or Taliban supporters, but there are also dozens of innocent people caught in the anger of the moment who deserve an opportunity to lead productive lives. It all begins with fair trials in which evidence is presented to either prove the innocence or guilt of the accused.

Is US In Guantanamo Covering Up Kahadr Case?

Lawyers for Omar Khadr wo is charged with murdering a US soldier in Afghanistan are charging US military officials with attempting to cover up the twisted and distorted effort to get a conviction against a defendant who was 15 at the time of the alleged attack. Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler who heads the defense team bluntly stated: “It appears that the government killed that investigtion(a 2006 pre-trial investigation) precisely to keep the allegations or the evidence of Omar’s abuse at Bargram from coming to light. I think the government realized if they pulled the string on Omar’s reatment, the circumstances of the treatment in Bargram… that this case would have collapsed in 2006.” A Pentagon spokesperson said he could not comment on the circumstances of the investigation but insisted that any allegations of abuse are “thoroughly investigated.”

Lt. Cmdr. Kuebler has been fighting against tremendous odds to get a fair trial for his client and most probably has ruined his career in the military in so doing. The government claims a fifteen year old boy confessed to his crime. As Kuebler notes: “Picture a 15 year-old boy with those types of injuries being forced with his arms chained like this for extended periods of time in Bagram, and think about the effect that would have on him and his willingness to o-operate with his interrogators.”

There is no question this entire attempt to put on trial an indidvidual who was fifteen at the time of the alleged crime has been botched since day one. It is simply another effort by the Bush administration to prove those in Guantanamo are all “terrorists.”