Report outlines abuse suffered by Khadr in Gitmo
Updated Tue. Jul. 11 2006
WASHINGTON — A new report describes Canadian teen Omar Khadr being carried into Guantanamo Bay interrogations on a stretcher, dangling from a door frame for hours and used as a human floor mop to clean his own urine.
The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York released the first major overview Monday of alleged abuses and torture at the U.S. prison camp for terror suspects, including rape, sexual harassment and vicious beatings.
UN scolds U.S. for detaining children
Jun 06, 2008 11:12 AM
National Security Reporter
GUANTANAMO BAY – A United Nations committee has reprimanded the U.S. for trying Omar Khadr for war crimes and detaining hundreds of children in Iraq and Afghanistan, when international law requires that they be rehabilitated.
Khadr, who was 15 when he was shot and captured in Afghanistan in 2002, and Afghan detainee Mohammed Jawad are on trial here for allegedly attacking U.S. troops.
Their trials are believed to be the first war crime prosecution of juveniles, which civil rights groups warn will set a dangerous precedent.
“The Committee is seriously concerned that children who were recruited or used in armed conflict, rather than being considered primarily as victims, are classified as ‘unlawful enemy combatants,’ and have been charged with war crimes and subjected to prosecution by military tribunals,” the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child stated in a report released Friday.
The report recommended that the imprisonment of children at Guantanamo “should be prevented.” If they must be detained, it said, they should be housed in “adequate conditions in accordance with their age and vulnerability.”
The Pentagon has stated that age may be taken into consideration during sentencing if Khadr and or Jawad are convicted but it’s not a factor for their trials or detention.
American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Jennifer Turner said she hopes the report and mounting pressure about Khadr’s case – which is likely to begin later this year – will make the Bush administration reconsider its position.
“The committee has created a blueprint for change of U.S. practices on detention of suspected child soldiers abroad,” said Turner. “The world will be watching whether the U.S. government swiftly implements the U.N.’s recommendations.”
Khadr faces five war crimes charges, including “murder in violation of the laws of war” for the death of U.S. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer. The Pentagon alleges that after Khadr was shot and captured, he told his American interrogators that he wanted to kill U.S. soldiers and “vowed to die fighting.”
Now 21, he is housed in an area of the prison here for “highly compliant” detainees, where he lives, prays and eats with a small group of other detainees. A report written last month by a foreign affairs lawyer describes Khadr as a “gentle, humorous, thoughtful, and intelligent young man.”
“I have concerns about Omar’s overall psychological and emotional well-being,” wrote Suneeta Millington, a Foreign Affairs Department legal officer in a recently released document. “In many ways he demonstrates a high level of maturity, as reflected by certain statements such as, ‘Life is a gift so you must make the best of it. You need a good attitude or you go crazy’ and ‘I’ve learned that you must not worry too much about pleasing other people, you must be guided by what is right and what is wrong.’
“In other ways, his comments and attitudes reflect a younger mentality (e.g. his annoyance with the legal proceedings which affect his opportunities for outdoor recreation).”
An Ottawa parliamentary subcommittee is currently examining Khadr’s case and will make a report to the government, which has been unwavering in its support of the U.S. military trial.
“The subcommittee is looking into the means by which several objectives can be fulfilled at the same time. First, measures to address security concerns that may relate to prospective repatriation of Omar Khadr. Second, the basis for an appropriate rehabilitation and reintegration program for Omar Khadr which would factor in any legitimate security concerns,” said Liberal MP and committee member Irwin Cotler.
The subcommittee is looking at a section of the criminal code that would impose a peace bond on Khadr and limit his freedom. It is one option that could help pave the way for Khadr’s return if the U.S. permits his repatriation either before or after his trial at Guantanamo.
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