Report from Guantanamo

Omar Khadr’s war crimes trial begins this month in a courtroom I remember well. Last October, I traveled to Guantanamo to report on a hearing in the military commissions for Khadr, the young Canadian citizen who allegedly threw a grenade that killed a soldier in Afghanistan. I witnessed a courtroom where rules are twisted to favor the accusers.  I had hoped that the Obama Administration would decide to place Khadr in federal court and end military commissions on Guantanamo, as promised on the campaign trail. Instead, Guantanamo remains open and the administration has decided to try detainees in the military commissions, starting with the child soldier.  I reported first-hand from the courtroom on Guantanamo:

“I had the honor of observing the military commission proceedings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as a representative of the National Institute of Military Justice. On October 7, 2009, I observed a hearing in United States v. Khadr for Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen whom the U.S. captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was fifteen years old and detained at Guantánamo for the last seven years. His charges include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material sup‐port for terrorism, and spying. In the 29‐minute hearing, one of the quickest hearings at Guantánamo to date, the judge granted Mr. Khadr’s motion to change counsel and the government’s motion for a 60‐day continuance. The judge then spent the majority of the hearing considering whether Khadr had the right to protect the privacy of his own legal notes, a right that would not have been in question in a federal courtroom.”

Read my full report of the hearing here.