Court considers Khadr’s plea

Canadian-born prisoner confesses to murder

By Katrina Tortorici

Twenty-three year old, Omar Khadr, pleaded guilty on Sunday, Oct. 25 to the murder of an American solider in Afghanistan in 2002.

Khadr had been imprisoned in a U.S. detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the past eight years, without trial, after allegedly launching a grenade that killed US Army Sergeant Christopher Speer in battle. He is now being put on trial by the U.S. Military Commissions.

“I’m really really sorry for the pain I’ve caused you and your family. I wish I could do something that would take this pain away from you. This is all I can say,” Khadr told Speer’s wife, Tabitha Speer, in Guantanamo Bay court on Oct. 28, according to the Canadian Press.

Khadr, born in Toronto, was charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiring with terrorists, spying and providing material support to terrorists and pleaded guilty to all five charges against him. Since he was a minor at the time, his defenders allege that he was a child soldier and should therefore be treated as a victim.

“I heard over and over how he’s the victim,” Speer’s widow said, leering at Khadr in the courtroom. “I don’t see that. The victims … they are my children. Not you,” CBC News reported on Oct. 29.

The jury consisted of seven U.S. military officers and will decide his fate. The Supreme Court of Canada refuses to get involved in Khadr’s case and do not want him to return to Canada for a fair trial, contrary to Canada’s international human rights obligations and in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Khadr’s attitude and outlook on life seemed to have changed since he was convicted as a young teenager. He insisted in his hearing that he no longer had anger toward the situation and would like to study to become a doctor when released.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about things,” he said. “You’re not going to gain anything from hate,” he addressed the court, CBC News reported
Canada now awaits Prime Minister Harper’s decision concerning Omar Khadr’s repatriation to his home country.


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