Omar Khadr's confession can be used at Guantanamo trial

Mon Aug 9, 2010 5:32pm EDT
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By Jane Sutton

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr's confessions to interrogators can be used as evidence against him in his murder and terrorism conspiracy trial at Guantanamo, a U.S. military judge ruled on Monday.

Khadr's lawyers claimed the statements were illegally obtained through torture and cruelty and asked the judge to throw them out. The judge refused.

Khadr's trial is scheduled to start on Tuesday in the U.S. war crimes court at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.

Toronto-born defendant Khadr was captured at age 15 on an Afghan battlefield. His trial will be the first war crimes tribunal anywhere since World War Two to prosecute someone for acts allegedly committed as a juvenile.

Now 23, he has spent a third of his life in the Guantanamo detention camp and faces five charges that could put him in prison for life.

Khadr was captured in a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002 and is charged with murdering U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Speer with a hand grenade during the battle.

Khadr is also charged with making roadside explosives for use against U.S.-led forces, spying on U.S. convoys, providing material support for terrorism and conspiring with al Qaeda to commit terrorism against civilians.

In a string of defeats for Khadr, the judge also said the anonymous jury of U.S. military officers could see a video showing Khadr helping a group of alleged al Qaeda operatives make and plant roadside explosives in Afghanistan.   Continued...