Obama Administration to Try Canadian Child Soldier Before Military Commission

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Omar Khadr

The first military trial of a Guantánamo detainee under President Barack Obama is likely to feature a young Canadian who was only 15 when captured in Afghanistan in 2002. Omar Khadr was seized by U.S. Special Forces following an attack on an Afghan compound during which someone threw a hand grenade at American soldiers, killing one.

The U.S. contends Khadr was responsible for the death of Delta Force 1st Sergeant Christopher Speer, even though the Toronto Star has reported that classified defense documents indicate “Khadr was buried face down under rubble, blinded by shrapnel and crippled” at the time of the grenade attack.
United Nations officials, human rights advocates and defense lawyers insist Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was an indoctrinated child soldier who should be rehabilitated, not prosecuted. He grew up in Toronto until he was 10, when his father moved the family to Afghanistan and became part of Osama bin Laden’s inner circle.
A federal court in Canada ordered the government last year to seek Khadr’s repatriation back to his home country. Uninterested in such a move, government officials appealed to Canada’s Supreme Court which decided not to compel Ottawa to call for the detainee’s return.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Khadr Case Raises Broad Questions on Child Combatants (by Paul Weinberg, Inter Press Service)


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