Video shows weeping Canadian Guantanamo inmate

Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:31pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Omar Khadr, the only western prisoner still held in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, broke down and wept when questioned by Canadian interrogators, video footage released on Tuesday shows.

Khadr, a Canadian, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15 and is charged with killing a U.S. medic. The secret video was taken in February 2003 and shows Khadr -- then 16 -- being grilled by officials from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency.

At one point, when his interrogators are out of the room, Khadr moans repeatedly in a desperate voice as he holds his head in his hands.

The phrase sounded very much like the English words "Kill me," but a native Arabic speaker from the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations told Reuters that he believed Khadr was in fact saying "Ya ummi," the Arabic for "my mother."

Extracts of videos taken over four days of interrogation were released by Khadr's lawyers on Tuesday after a long battle with the Canadian government.

"It's the cry of a desperate young man. He expected the Canadian officials to take him home," said lawyer Dennis Edney.

The poor quality footage -- recorded by cameras hidden in the room -- offers a rare glimpse into the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility, where the United States is holding about 265 prisoners in conditions criticized by human rights groups.

Khadr also tells the interrogators, "You don't care about me," complains of poor medical treatment and removes his orange jumpsuit to show scars from the serious wounds he suffered during the firefight in Afghanistan in which the medic died.   Continued...

<p>Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, 16 years old at the time, appears in multiple video screen grab during a February 2003 interview in the Guantanamo Bay prison. Khadr, the only western prisoner still held in the U.S. prison, pleaded with Canadian interrogators to be allowed home in videos released on Tuesday by his lawyers. REUTERS/Handout via Reuters TV</p>