Omar Khadr vs. the Military Commissions

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Carol Rosenberg, the dean of the Guantanamo Bay reporters, has returned to the prison to cover the military commission hearings of Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen and alleged former child soldier who is charged with the killing of an American soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. (Rosenberg had previously been banned for re-reporting the previously-published name of a commission witness.) There have been rumors of a plea bargain in the case for months, but Khadr fired his lawyers last week. On Monday, he submitted a hand-written filing explaining to the judge why he wouldn’t agree to a deal and why he plans to boycott the proceedings. Rosenberg acquired an image of the filing; Marcy Wheeler has a transcription:

Your honor, I’m boycotting this military commission because:

Firstly, the unfairness and unjustice of it. I say this because not one of the lawyers I’ve had, or human right organization or any person say that the commission is fair, or looking for justice, but on the contrary they say it is unfair and unjust and that it has been constructed solely to convict detainees and not to find the truth (so how can I ask for justice from a process that does not have it or offer it?) 

“[T]he unfairness of the rules that will make a person so depressed that he will admit to alligations or take a plea offer that will satisfy the US government and get him the least sentence possible and ligitimize the show process. “

[new color ink—apparently added later] and to accomplish political and public goal and what I mean is when I was offered a plea bargain it was up to 30 years which I was going to spend only 5 years so I asked why the 30 years? I was told it make the US government look good in the public eyes and other political causes.

Secondly, the unfairness of the rules that will make a person so depressed that he will admit to alligations or take a plea offer that will satisfy the US government and get him the least sentence possible and ligitimize the show process. Therefore I will not willingly let the US gov use me to fullfil its goal. I have been used to many times when I was a child and that’s why I’m here taking blame and paying for thing I didn’t have a choice in doing but was told to do by elders.

Lastly I will not take any plea offer or [several words redacted] because it will give excuse for the gov for torturing and abusing me when I was a child.

UPDATE: Jennifer Turner, a human rights researcher with the ACLU, is at Guantánamo observing the proceedings. She issued a statement on the case on Monday afternoon:

The Obama administration should shut down the illegitimate military commissions system that has become a stain on our nation’s reputation and prosecute terrorism suspects in the time-tested federal criminal courts. The commissions system is unfit to try any Guantánamo detainee, especially an alleged child soldier who has been held in U.S. custody for over a third of his life and subjected to years of abuse. Omar Khadr, like all Guantánamo terrorism suspects, should be tried in federal courts that guarantee due process. If that isn’t possible, the U.S. must send him home to Canada.

 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate