Khadr, 20, Starts 6th Year at Gitmo Jail
Posted Jul 03, 2007 05:37 pm CDT
Although he scored a big legal victory June 4, when the U.S. government–at least for now–was told by a military court that its terrorism charges against him are invalid, Omar Khadr’s day-to-day situation is still the same.
Held since he was 15 years old at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the 20-year-old is still imprisoned in solitary confinement, and, despite what his lawyer sees as a dubious case against him, unlikely to be released anytime soon, reports the Sunday Herald, a Scottish newspaper. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was captured in Afghanistan in a Taliban stronghold in July 2002, following a battle with U.S. troops. The only survivor on his side, he was blinded in one eye during the fighting and is accused of throwing a hand grenade at American soldiers that killed a medic. Now he is waiting to see what may happen in his case on appeal, and whether new charges will be brought.
Khadr’s defense hasn’t been helped by the fact that his family, which traveled between Canada, Pakistan and Afghanistan during his growing-up years, reportedly has prominently displayed al-Qaeda sympathies. Khadr’s father, now deceased, is accused of having helped financed the group’s terrorist activities, and Khadr and his five siblings “grew up alongside Osama bin Laden’s children,” according to the Toronto Star.
“One of the questions I ask myself is, how does one become a terrorist on a battlefield? And two, how did Khadr get there as a 15-year-old boy?” says Dennis Edney, Khadr’s lawyer, who practices in Edmonton, Canada.
“What choice did he have? His father turned him over to Taliban warriors and they crossed the border and ended up in this house. Don’t we hold parents accountable for babysitters who look after their children? And what about self-defence? If Omar Khadr is the worst of the worst we have nothing to fear from al-Qaeda.”