Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Statement of Omar Khadr's Lawyers

``We have just learned that our client, Omar Khadr, has been charged by the United States government with several offenses that are not even valid war crimes, for which he will be tried by military commission under The Military Commissions Act of 2006. This is the third set of charges laid against Omar. Yet, no matter how many times the government issues new charges, the military commissions system will continue to be an illegitimate one. Indeed, the system is virtually indistinguishable from the one previously invalidated by the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld just last year.

'The recent plea agreement accepted by David Hicks after less than a day of military commission proceedings and after significant negotiations between Australia and the U.S. demonstrates that the resolution of these cases is political and not the result of a legal process. Clearly, the U.S. is using the case of Omar in an attempt to rehabilitate the military commissions, which Hicks' plea demonstrated is a tainted process. In doing so, the U.S. will be the first country in modern history to try an individual who was a child at the time of the alleged war crimes. Indeed, the charge of conspiracy against Omar is based on alleged acts some of which occurred when Omar was less than 10 years of age.

``Omar Khadr was taken into U.S. custody at the age of 15 and has been detained at Guantánamo since he was 16, in conditions equal to or worse than those given to convicted adult criminals, such as prolonged solitary confinement and repeated instances of torture. After nearly 5 years in such conditions, the government is now demanding his appearance before what can only amount to a kangaroo court. The fact that this Administration has seen fit to designate this youth for trial by military commission is abhorrent.

``Now is the time for Canada and the U.S. to negotiate a political resolution because the commissions system is incapable of justice. Otherwise, Omar, just barely twenty years of age and a minor at the time of the alleged crimes, is guaranteed to be convicted in one of the greatest show trials on earth. This should not be the legacy of America or Canada.''


Muneer Ahmad
Kristine Huskey
Richard Wilson
American University
College of Law
Washington D.C.
Lt. Col. Colby Vokey
U.S. Marine Corps.
Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler
U.S. Navy