Gitmo Detainee Omar Khadr Quits (For Now)
Marcy did the heavy lifting yesterday of transcribing a letter that Omar Khadr wrote to Col. Patrick Parrish, the judge presiding over his military commission. After yet again firing his lawyers, Khadr appeared resigned. “[N]ot 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,” Khadr wrote. ” 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.”
Reporting from Guantanamo — how satisfying it is to write those words — Carol Rosenberg informs us that Parrish ordered Khadr’s military lawer, Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, to represent the detainee at trial August 10. A federal court in Canada has ordered the Harper government to intervene, something the Canadians have resisted for years in Khadr’s case, as Khadr’s al-Qaeda connected family is among the country’s most infamous.
Assume for sake of argument that Omar Khadr, at 15 years old, threw the grenade that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer. That was a classic battlefield act, occurring during a July 2002 firefight. He is not accused by anyone of committing any hostile act against a noncombatant. Yet if Khadr’s convicted, it will be convicted as a war criminal.