Trial to begin for Guantanamo`s youngest prisoner

A long-delayed trial is beginning Tuesday for Guantanamo`s youngest detainee.

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2010, 19:13 PM IST

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base: Eight years after
his capture as a teenager on an Afghan battlefield, a
long-delayed trial is beginning on Tuesday for Guantanamo`s
youngest detainee.

A US military judge ruled yesterday that purported
confessions by Canadian detainee Omar Khadr can be used
against him, dismissing arguments they were tainted by
mistreatment and dashing the defence`s last hope for derailing
the trial in the slaying of an
American soldier.

His age -- Khadr was only 15 when he was captured in
2002, has exposed the administration of President Barack Obama
to criticism from child advocates. The prosecution will
receive added scrutiny as this is the first trial under the
embattled war-crimes tribunals inherited from the Bush
administration.

Jury selection from a pool of US military officers begins
today and opening arguments are planned for tomorrow in a
trial expected to last roughly three weeks.

While military prosecutors describe Khadr as a clear-eyed
al Qaeda fighter, defense lawyers say Khadr was himself a
victim, forced into war by a family with close ties to Osama
bin Laden. His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an Egyptian-born
Canadian citizen and alleged terrorist financier.

"He`s not a real Taliban warrior. He`s a kid who was put
in an unfortunate situation," said Dennis Edney, a Canadian
lawyer for Khadr.

His capture on July 27, 2002, followed a lengthy
firefight between US Special Forces and men holed up inside a
mud-walled al Qaeda compound in eastern Afghanistan. As
soldiers entered the compound Khadr allegedly lobbed a grenade
that killed US Army Sgt 1st Class Christopher Speer of
Albuquerque, New Mexico.

PTI