Omar Khadr

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Person.png Omar Khadr  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Omar Khad.jpg
BornOmar Ahmed Khadr
September 19, 1986
Toronto, Canada
Parents • Ahmed Khadr
• Maha el-Samnah
Victim oftorture
A Canadian citizen who has nearly spent 1/2 of his life in military detention, after being arrested as a minor caught in a firefight in which several of his adult companions and a US soldier were killed.

Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen who has nearly spent 1/2 of his life in military detention since his capture in the village of Ayub Kehyl ( Map ), Afghanistan on 27 July 2002 at the age of 15 years. His capture followed a firefight in which several of his adult companions and a US soldier were killed. He was severely injured himself having been shot twice in the back and blinded in one eye.

He has been held prisoner by the US ever since, initially at Bagram and since October 2002 at Guantanamo Bay. His chief interrogator at Bagram was Joshua Claus, who later pleaded guilty to abusing detainees to extract confessions following the in-custody death of wrongly accused taxi driver Dilawar that same year. On October 31, 2010, Khadr was sentenced to eight more years in custody in accordance with the plea agreement which was unsealed after the military sentencing jury recommended that he should serve 40 years.

Military Commissions 'Trial'


A war court judge in 2010 conceded that the interrogation of Omar Khadr included an implied threat of rape but found that this did not disqualify confessions obtained from being used as evidence[1], noting that "there is no evidence that story caused the accused to make any incriminating statements then or in the future"[2].

Pre-trial hearings

Khadr was charged with throwing the grenade that killed a US soldier and being part of a "Terrorist Conspiracy" that began when he was 10 years old. At his pre-trial hearings in May 2010 Joshua Claus (Court designation "Interrogator One") gave evidence about his treatment of Khadr [3]. Under persistent defence questioning his experience as an interrogator was clear. He answered "...I don't specifically recall" to most of the questions about specific abuse of Khadr.

A System Designed to Produce Convictions, Not Justice

Khadr himself gave evidence as the pre-trial hearings continued in July 2010. He described the Military Commissions process as "Unfair and Unjust" and "..."Constructed to convict detainees, not to find the truth". He dismissed his Military appointed defence lawyer and refused to take any further part in the proceedings. He had already refused a 'plea-bargain' in which he was required to admit to War Crimes and serve a further 5 years of a 30 year sentence before being returned to Canada to an uncertain status. [4] He now faces life imprisonment if the Military Commission convicts him, which it is assuredly designed to do.

Reporters Banned

Following the May 2010 hearings, four of the reporters accredited to the case have been banned by from further attendance for publishing Joshua Claus' name rather than referring to him by his commission approved "Interrogator one" designation. The ban is in spite of Claus's name and role having been in the public domain for years and makes further mockery of the whole Military Commissions process in which the 'Trial Judge', Col. Patrick Parrish, repeatedly refers to his 'commitment to transparency'.

One of the banned reporters is Michelle Shephard whose book "Guantanamo's Child: The untold story of Omar Khadr" is the most comprehensive account of Khadr's short life to date [5]

Canadian Authorities refuse to extradite Omar Khadr's brother

The Canadian authorities have refused to extradite his elder brother Abdullah to the US. Like his brother he maintains - with considerable credibility - that he made his confession only after suffering serious and prolonged abuse at the hands of his captors. [6]

Consistent blanket refusals by Canadian government

The Canadian government, under three successive prime ministers, two Liberal and one Conservative, did nothing about the plight of a tortured fifteen year old Canadian boy imprisoned with no trial in the world’s most notorious torture camps. They contributed nothing to his education, nor to his emotional or psychological welfare. They expressed no concern for his well being. They never requested his repatriation, nor did they ever request that the illegal and amoral conditions of his confinement be improved. They each fought hard against co-operating with or helping him at all levels of Canada's judicial system through 2008 - 2010, in each court the Canadian government was found to have violated Omar Khadr's rights as a Canadian citizen. The Federal Court of Canada also ruled that the activities of the Canadian government in this case constitute a breach of the UN Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions.

Further information

As of August 2010 the WikiPedia page is a fair and comprehensive account of both his early life and events since he arrived in Afghanistan in 2002. It provides an extended account of the military operations and firefight that resulted in Khadr's capture. [7]

Latest Information

In October 2010 Omar Khadr signed a plea bargain that would see him home to Canada in November 2011, if the Canadian government upholds its promise to him. [8] Guilty plea entered as part of a plea bargain [9] [10].

In April 2011 the Canadian High Commission refused board on an Air Canada direct flight from London to Toronto, to internationally acclaimed human rights activist and former Guatanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg. [11] Begg was invited by Omar Khadr's defense lawyer to speak in Canada about Islamophobia, Guantanamo, and, of course, his former cell mate Omar Khadr.

External links


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Child Soldier Coerced Into Plea-Bargainarticle7 October 2010Keith Jones
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