Published on March 19th, 2010 | by Impunity Watch Archive1
United States Looks to Return Child Soldier to Canada
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
OTTAWA, Canada – The United States is quietly looking for a way to return one of the five Guantanamo detainees set to be tried at a military tribunal. An anonymous source told Canwest news service that the United States does not want to try Omar Kadar, the youngest detainee to be held at the prison for war crimes.
Khardr who is a Canadian citizen was only fifteen years old when he was first sent to Guantanamo in 2002. He was taken prisoner in Afghanistan after he allegedly threw a grenade at United States solders killing one. He is the youngest person and the only westerner still being held at the Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba.
According to an anonymous source within the Obama administration the United States “[does] not have the stomach to try a child for war crimes.” The anonymous source also said that there might be political repercussions to not trying Khadr. As a result the United States is looking to Canada to make the first move.
Last month, Canada’s Supreme Court held that the Canadian government had violated Kadar’s rights but fell short of ordering the Canadian government to demand repatriation for Kadar. The court found that officials from the Canadian Foreign Affairs and Spy agency had violated Kadar’s rights by questioning Khadr rafter he had been exposed to torture. The Canadian government who has long sought to stay out of the situation has softened its position some by asking the United States government not to use shared evidence in prosecuting Kadar.
The United States Department of Justice declined to comment on the issue. Spokesman for the department Dean Boyd said “Omar Khadr Hs been referred for [a] military commission prosecution….I have no comment for you on whether or not there are any discussions between the United States or Canada regarding Omar Khadr’s case.”
Khadr will have to answer to five charges if brought before the military commission. Among those charges is the murder of Delta Force Sergeant Chris Speer who died from injuries resulting from the hand grenade Khadr allegedly threw. The department of justice has said they will not seek the death penalty if Khadr is convicted but will only consider his age as a mitigating factor. Inside sources in the department of justice have said that while Khadr will face a long prison sentence if convicted the Department of Justice will not seek a life sentence.
For more information, please see:
AFP – U. S. Weighs Guantanamo Inmates Return to Canada – 8 March 2010
All Headline News – U. S. May Repatriate Omar Khadr from Guantanamo – 8 March 2010
National Post – U. S. Looks For a Way to Return Khadr – 8 March 2010