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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Omar Khadr Pleads Guilty at GITMO Tribunal

Omar Khadr Pleads Guilty at GITMO Tribunal

October 25, 2010

Canadian ex-child soldier pleads guilty at Guantánamo

By Jon Swaine

Omar Khadr was sentenced to eight more years in jail, after pleading guilty in a war-crimes tribunal at the US base in Cuba to five terrorism charges against him.

Khadr, who is now 24, has been held since 2002 after being seriously wounded during a battle with American troops in Afghanistan. He threw a grenade that killed Sgt Christopher Speer and wounded another soldier.

His lawyers said that the US and Canada had agreed a diplomatic note stating that Khadr would be returned to Canada in a year, in order to serve the rest of his sentence there.

Khadr admitted he had conspired with al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist attacks, that he had spied on US convoys and that he had planted roadside bombs targeting troops in Afghanistan.

He also admitted throwing the grenade at Sgt Speer, whose widow Tabitha was present in court and wept as Khadr made his admission.

Khadr's trial was the first for alleged war crimes committed as a juvenile since the Second World War. It prompted criticism of the US from human rights campaigners.

His lawyers argued unsuccessfully that he had been a child soldier, and should be rehabilitated rather than prosecuted. They said he had pleaded guilty because it was the only way out of the "hellhole" of Guantánamo.

The chief prosecutor of the tribunal, Navy Captain John Murphy, said that the Canadian's guilty plea would put an end to "the long-standing lie by some that Omar Khadr is a victim".

"He's not," Captain Murphy said. "He's murderer and he's convicted by the strength of his own words."





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