Child Soldier or War Criminal?

Trial of Omar Khadr, in Gitmo since he was 15, raises questions about the war on terror
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2010 8:03 AM CDT
Child Soldier or War Criminal?
FILE - In this April 28, 2010 file photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, Canadian defendant Omar Khadr attends his hearing for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in...   (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool, File)

The upcoming trial of Canadian Omar Khadr, the only Western detainee still at Guantanamo, will offer a rare window into the war on terror. The Obama administration's first full war-crimes prosecution will face the question of whether Khadr was a child soldier whose father pushed him into al-Qaeda at age 10 or an "unprivileged enemy belligerent" guilty of committing a war crime.

Khadr, the son of an al-Qaeda financier, was 15 when he was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in 2002. After being interrogated he admitted to hurling a grenade that killed a US soldier, a confession he has since recanted. Now 23, he's spent a third of his life at Guantanamo, the Miami Herald reports. He has called the war court a political sham and is viewed as likely to boycott the trial. Pretrial testimony revealed Khadr was told tales of rape, shackled and hooded, and chained to a stretcher, possibly sedated, while being interrogated; it's unknown which, if any, of his incriminating statements will be permitted to be brought to trial. (Read more Omar Khadr stories.)

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