Videos show Khadr crying in detention 16-year-old also pulling hair, covering face, shedding prison tunic
Canwest News Service
Monday, July 14, 2008
NEW YORK - A 16-year-old Omar Khadr is seen pulling at his hair, covering his face and shedding his tunic in stills taken from videotapes of Canadian officials interrogating the Toronto-born terror suspect in Guantanamo Bay.
They are significant because they are the first publicly released photographs of Khadr, now 21, since his capture by U.S. forces following a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002.
The public will also get its first opportunity to view excerpts of the videotapes when Khadr's lawyers place a 10-minute sequence on a website that is yet to be determined.
Khadr is seen in the photographs wearing an orange tunic, which U.S. authorities in Guantanamo have long made detainees they consider unco-operative wear.
He is also reported to be crying on several occasions.
The lawyers plan to release DVDs of the full seven hours of interrogations at a news conference Tuesday in Edmonton, where the offices of the Canadian members of Khadr's legal team are located.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently ordered the federal government to release the tapes and a series of related documents to the lawyers, who had launched successive actions to obtain the formerly confidential files.
Khadr's Pentagon-assigned military lawyer may use the tapes as part of the Canadian's defence. Khadr is scheduled to be tried before a U.S. military commission in early October on five war crimes charges, including the murder of a US soldier in a grenade attack during the 2002 firefight.
Notes U.S. officials wrote of the interrogations are included in some of the accompanying documents that were released by the lawyers separately last week.
The interrogations took place over four days from Feb. 13, 2003, at the U.S. naval base in Cuba following Khadr's transfer from detention in Afghanistan the previous October.
Sitting in a folding chair on the first day, Khadr ate a burger and drank a soda, according to one report, whose author said he could not hear what was being said.
Khadr "mumbled and had his head down" on the second day, the author said. The detainee also would "not look at his interviewers."
The author said when the Canadian officials asked Khadr why his demeanour had changed, he replied: "Promise you'll protect me from the Americans."
Khadr also said he had been tortured while detained in Afghanistan, the U.S. official wrote, and said everything he had told the Canadians the previous day "was a lie."
The Canadians asked Khadr if he'd spoken with anyone the previous night, and Khadr "denied anyone coached him," the U.S. official says. "He covered his eyes and began to cry heavily."
The U.S. official describes how Khadr removed his shirt, saying it was to show wounds on his back and shoulder. Khadr was shot and suffered shrapnel wounds during the firefight in Afghanistan.
"Khadr put his head back in his hands and cried heavily," said the official.
Khadr sat on a couch on the third day, the official writes. "He declined food that was offered to him."
The official said the Canadians asked Khadr about members of his family, among them his father, whom the U.S. has accused of being chief financier to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Khadr's father was killed in an anti-terrorist raid in Pakistan in 2003.
On the fourth day the official says the Canadian interrogators "began to get more confrontational with Khadr, who "denied killing anyone."
"Khadr began to cry and was crying when the interrogators left," the official says.
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html