Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The abuse of 16 year old Omar Khadr

The world got its first glimpse of a Guantanamo detainee this morning when lawyers for Omar Khadr released a video of the Toronto man’s 2003 interrogation by Canadian officials.



Guantánamo video shows interrogation of sobbing Canadian youth

Video grab showing 16-year-old Omar Khadr being interviewed by intelligence agents at Guantánamo Bay, in February 2003.

Video grab showing 16-year-old Omar Khadr being interviewed by intelligence agents at Guantánamo Bay, in February 2003. Photograph: PA

The first footage showing an interrogation at Guantánamo Bay was released today by the lawyers of Omar Khadr, a Canadian teenager detained by US forces.

The video shows Khadr, at the time aged 16, interviewed by intelligence agents in 2003. During the footage he sobs uncontrollably, removes his shirt to complain about his medical treatment and tells the agents: "You don't care about me."

Left alone in the interrogation room, Khadr cries, holds his head and rocks back and forth. The audio is not clear, but he reportedly repeats the phrase "help me".

The video, at times distressing, is the first footage from inside an interrogation room at the controversial US detention camp to be made public.

Khadr, the son of Ahmed Said Khadr, who had ties to al-Qaida's elite, was captured in July 2002 in Afghanistan when he was just 15. Now 21, he remains in Guantánamo Bay along with around 270 so-called "enemy combatants".

The Pentagon forbids public release of photographs or recordings of the US detention camp and the Canadian government had declined requests by Khadr's lawyers, Nathan Whitling and Dennis Edney, to view the video footage.

But in May, Khadr's legal team won a US supreme court ruling for disclosure of footage - in total lasting several hours - as well as previously classified documents relating to his case.

The edited clip video released today shows Khadr interrogated by a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agent, a Canadian foreign affairs official Jim Gould, and an unidentified female CIA official - their faces have been blacked out.

The full-length videos, understood to have been recorded from a camera hidden in a ventilation shaft, is expected to be posted online later today.

The video clip opens with Khadr removing the top half of his orange jumpsuit to show his interrogators his injuries resulting from two bullet wounds. He says: "You say this is healthy? I can't move my arm."

The CSIS agent replies: "They look like they're healing well to me. You know, I'm not a doctor but I think you're getting good medical care." Khadr replies: "No I'm not. You're not here."

After Khadr complains further, the agent states: "I understand this is stressful, but by using this as a strategy to talk to us - it's not going to be any more helpful. I mean we've got a limited about of time and, you know, we've heard this story before."

Responding to complaints from Khadr that his interrogators "don't care" about him, the CSIS agent replies: "Well, I do care about you, but I want to talk to the honest Omar I talked to yesterday."

At times Khadr appears confused and despondent, and repeatedly breaks down. In another exchange, the agent says: "You want to go back to Canada? Well, there's not anything I can do about that."

Dennis Edney told the Toronto Star: "I hope Canadians will be outraged to see the callous and disgraceful treatment of a Canadian youth. Canadians should demand to know why they've been lied to."

The video follows documents released last week that revealed senior Canadian officials were aware that Khadr had been subjected to weeks of sleep deprivation, even though they stated publicly that the teenager had been treated humanely. For three weeks, Khadr had been made to move to a new cell every three hours, the documents revealed.

Gould, who has said he was only present during the interrogation to assess Khadr' s wellbeing, reported to Canada's foreign affairs department that Khadr was "a thoroughly screwed up young man".

"All those persons who have been in positions of authority over him have abused him and his trust, for their own purposes," Gould said.

Khadr, who the US accuses of killing a soldier with a grenade, is set to face a military trial later this year for five war crimes. Amnesty International has described him as the first person to be put on trial anywhere in the world for war crimes allegedly committed when he was a juvenile.

Original article posted here.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's the problem here? Are people upset that the detainee is not having a good time and that he is stressed? What would anyone expect? This is docile treatment and nothing you wouldn't expect from a 21 year old in any other jail. This seems more like a ploy from the boy’s attorney to gain support from people unaccustomed to seeing such things, but anyone in law enforcement would consider this firm but respectful treatment.

Anonymous said...

He allegedly killed an American soldier? It doesn't matter how old you are,he knew what he was doing, he was out there to kill and he belongs behind bars. Does he have any idea how lucky he is not to be incarcerated in a nice American jail? Oner with killers as himself? Keep him locked up, his tears are fake, he cries for himself not for te man he killed.

Anonymous said...

Really?? Abuse?? The little terrorist should be so lucky. Apparently he was shot after he lobbed the grenade in Afghanistan. Lucky for him Americans treat detainees in a humane manner, providing this little wankster with medical care, allowing his gunshot wounds to heal.

I guess Americans could have shot him dead on site, or left his corpse to rot in the streets. The world would have been better for it. However, we are far too compassionate. Instead, this terrorist will have his "day in court" to spew the lies that he's been trained to recite, recounting "torture" and "mistreatment." This is the simplest tactic that Al Qaeda employs to erode our resolve, and we're all falling for it hook, line and sinker.

I'm sorry, not a single terrorist currently detained in Gitmo has ever been a victim of torture at the hands of the U.S. Talk to a Cambodian who lived under Pol Pot, or any dictator around the world for that matter--they can attest to what torture really is. I'm sure the Janjaweed provide hot meals and medical care for the families that they mercilessly slaughter...

We have lost all perspective on this matter. Let's get real people.

Anonymous said...

So I guess you three commenters know all of the facts surrounding this case? I guess it's easy in this country to forget the we are all innocent until proven guilty when there is so much freedom and terrorist rhetoric flying through to air. I'll tell you what, if a foreign army invaded MY country and decided that it knew what was right for ME I would do anything in my power and resource to give them as little room for comfort as possible.

Let's be perfectly clear here though, I love my country but it's a sad state of affairs when this corrupt administration sends out scores of our soldiers to protect their private interests. And for what? Is this kid (who was 16 at the time) the key to unlocking the secret of Al Quaeda? And how many people are prosecuted when an American bomb kills innocent people in Iraq?

Where is our Constitution? Where is our sense of responsibility and humility? Why isn't our government accountable anymore?

Give this man a day in court and SEND HIM BACK TO HIS OWN COUNTRY AND GET OUT.

K. said...

Anon,

A 16 year old in Iraqi unlocking the the Al Q code???

You're more likley to open that can of snakes from a few 60 year olds in washington.

BTW get out of their country!!!

Anonymous said...

6 years without a trial.

Justice should be blind... not deaf, dumb and vindictive.

There is a War Criminal who is free right now. And he's not some 16 year old kid.

K said...

A war criminal for defending his country against an invading army?

History, and certainly not a citizen and benefactor of the pillaging barbarians, will judge.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Lt.C. Ralph Peters on Omar Khadr Gitmo Tape: "We Should Have Killed That Punk on a Battlefield where it was legal to do so!"

Watch video at http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/07/ltc-ralph-peters-on-omar-khadr-gitmo.html

Anonymous said...

He's a terrorist, let him rot in jail...