Moral Outrage
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Torture confessions to be allowed in Omar Khadr “child soldier” trial

A top United Nations official has denounced the Pentagon’s trial of so-called “child soldier” Omar Khadr at Guantanamo Bay, saying the proceeding was a violation of international legal norms and “may endanger the status of child soldiers all over the world.”

“Since World War II, no child has been prosecuted for a war crime,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N.’s special representative for Children and Armed Conflict said in a statement distributed by the U.N.

In another development,  a US military judge has ruled  that Khadr’s confessions,  obtained through torture, can be used as evidence in his trial. Lawyers for Khadr claimed statements to military interrogators were illegally obtained through torture and asked a US war crimes court to throw them out.

The sharp criticism from the U.N. official created yet another public relations dilemma for Pentagon officials as they prepare to try Khadr, a Canadian citizen who has spent nearly a third of his life at Guantanamo.  At the time of the alleged incident, Khadr, now 23, was 15 years old.

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One Response to “Torture confessions to be allowed in Omar Khadr “child soldier” trial”

  1. You’re 15 years old, in the company of hardened militants who are associates of your father. A foreign army has invaded the country and unleashed a massive bombing campaign. Soldiers come knocking one morning and demand entry. The men around you refuse and a firefight ensues, culminating in the occupying air force bombarding the compound you’re in, killing everyone but you and one other person.

    What happens next is disputed. As the soldiers enter the bombed-out compound a grenade is thrown and explodes near one of them. He later dies of his wounds. Based on witness reports, the thrower could have been one of three people: you, the man lying beside you, or a U.S. soldier outside the compound wall.

    The man beside you is shot by an advancing soldier as he reaches for an AK-47 lying beside him. Cowering in the corner, you, in turn, are shot twice in the back. As shock sets in, you plead with the soldiers to kill you, to finish the job. You are Omar Khadr. Your ordeal has barely begun.

    Omar Khadr, then a gravely wounded 15-year-old, was routinely trussed up in a cage “in one of the worst places on Earth,” according to a hulking former military interrogator, Damien Corsetti, who says he felt sorry for the Canadian and brought him books and treats. Corsetti remains convinced that Mr. Khadr is innocent.

    –Excerpts of an article by Paul Koring, Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Station


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