U.S. chained wounded Canadian teen to door: medic

Mon May 3, 2010 7:49pm EDT
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By Jane Sutton

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Canadian captive Omar Khadr was hooded, crying and chained to a door outside his cell in Afghanistan around the time he turned 16, a former U.S. medic testified on Monday in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal.

The former Army medic, identified only as M, testified in a hearing to determine whether Khadr was coerced into confessing that he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

Khadr, now 23, was 15 when captured in a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002 and would be the first person tried in a U.S. war crimes tribunal for acts allegedly committed as a minor. It would also be the first tribunal under a law President Barack Obama signed in 2009 banning evidence obtained through inhumane treatment.

Medic M treated Khadr's gunshot wounds and shrapnel injuries at the detention center at the Bagram U.S. air base in Afghanistan between mid-August and late October 2002, during which time Khadr turned 16.

He described once finding Khadr standing in the entryway outside his cell with his hands chained to the metal-mesh door just above eye level.

"We pulled off the hood that was over his head and I asked him what was ailing him, if there was some type of medical issue he might be having," M testified by video link from an undisclosed location. "I then noted that he was crying."

Khadr seemed frustrated and "not very cordial," M said, adding, "I had never seen him like that before."

He said such treatment was common punishment for prisoners held at Bagram during the early part of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan but that he did not know why Khadr was being disciplined.   Continued...

<p>A sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin of defendant Omar Khadr during a hearing at the U.S. Military Commissions court for war crimes, at Guantanamo Bay, January 19, 2009. REUTERS/Janet Hamlin/Pool</p>