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Gitmo Judge Parrish Allows Evidence from Teen Coerced Under Threat of Rape by Joshua Claus

Carol Rosenberg brings us the details on Monday’s decision from Guantanamo Military Commission Judge Colonel Patrick Parrish, allowing all confessions of Omar Khadr to be admitted into evidence:

All of Canadian captive Omar Khadr’s confessions to U.S. military interrogators can be used at the accused teen terrorist’s trial, including one that followed a tawdry tale of rape, a war court judge ruled Monday to set the stage for the first full war crimes tribunal of the Obama administration.

Khadr’s lawyers claimed that Guantánamo’s youngest and last Western prisoner was tortured into confessing soon after his capture at age 15 following a firefight in Afghanistan when he was shot twice through the chest.

Here is an AP video, now two years old, with statements from Khadr’s mother and sister:

Rosenberg’s account continues:

At the heart of the issue was pretrial testimony May 6 by Khadr’s first interrogator, former Army Sgt. Joshua Claus, that he had scared the Canadian into confessing by conjuring up a rape tale of an Afghan kid who didn’t cooperate, was sent to an American prison to be raped and killed. Claus has been convicted at a court martial of abusing detainees in Afghanistan but Khadr wasn’t among them.

Think about that just a moment. Col. Parrish has allowed to stand a confession that a convicted torturer openly admits was obtained after relating to the teenage suspect a story in which a non-cooperative suspect was sent to a prison to be raped and killed. (cont’d.)

Imagine how different the situation would be if Khadr were white. Actually, we don’t have to use much imagination. Consider this video from National Geographic where the “outrage” of coercing a confession from a teen boy is documented. Note especially that the interrogator threatens the boy with being sent to an adult prison. It seems to me that this boy surely knew that he would face rape under such circumstances:

My heart goes out to the family of Omar Khadr. While there are legal questions surrounding whether the act of which he is accused (throwing a hand grenade) rises to the level of a war crime rather than an act committed during a battle in a war, there can be no doubt that coercing a confession under threat of rape and/or death should itself be a punishable act. Yet, even though the perpetrator of this war crime has been convicted in a separate act of torture, the presiding judge at Khadr’s military commission trial has decided to allow this and all other confessions obtained from Khadr when he was a 15 year old wounded boy.

This heinous decision by Parrish should remove all doubt on the question of the object of the military commission system at Guantanamo. This system is set up only to obtain convictions without regard to US and international law. Justice is being discarded at Guantanamo in the name of political expediency.

How’s that Nobel Peace Prize looking now, Mr. President?

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Gitmo Judge Parrish Allows Evidence From Teen Coerced Under Threat of Rape by Joshua Claus

Carol Rosenberg brings us the details on Monday’s decision from Guantanamo Military Commission Judge Colonel Patrick Parrish, allowing all confessions of Omar Khadr to be admitted into evidence:

All of Canadian captive Omar Khadr’s confessions to U.S. military interrogators can be used at the accused teen terrorist’s trial, including one that followed a tawdry tale of rape, a war court judge ruled Monday to set the stage for the first full war crimes tribunal of the Obama administration.

Khadr’s lawyers claimed that Guantánamo’s youngest and last Western prisoner was tortured into confessing soon after his capture at age 15 following a firefight in Afghanistan when he was shot twice through the chest.

Here is an AP video, now two years old, with statements from Khadr’s mother and sister:

Rosenberg’s account continues:

At the heart of the issue was pretrial testimony May 6 by Khadr’s first interrogator, former Army Sgt. Joshua Claus, that he had scared the Canadian into confessing by conjuring up a rape tale of an Afghan kid who didn’t cooperate, was sent to an American prison to be raped and killed. Claus has been convicted at a court martial of abusing detainees in Afghanistan but Khadr wasn’t among them.

Think about that just a moment. Col. Parrish has allowed to stand a confession that a convicted torturer openly admits was obtained after relating to the teenage suspect a story in which a non-cooperative suspect was sent to a prison to be raped and killed.

Imagine how different the situation would be if Khadr were white. Actually, we don’t have to use much imagination. Consider this video from National Geographic where the "outrage" of coercing a confession from a teen boy is documented. Note especially that the interrogator threatens the boy with being sent to an adult prison. It seems to me that this boy surely knew that he would face rape under such circumstances:

My heart goes out to the family of Omar Khadr. While there are legal questions surrounding whether the act of which he is accused (throwing a hand grenade) rises to the level of a war crime rather than an act committed during a battle in a war, there can be no doubt that coercing a confession under threat of rape and/or death should itself be a punishable act. Yet, even though the perpetrator of this war crime has been convicted in a separate act of torture, the presiding judge at Khadr’s military commission trial has decided to allow this and all other confessions obtained from Khadr when he was a 15 year old wounded boy.

This heinous decision by Parrish should remove all doubt on the question of the object of the military commission system at Guantanamo. This system is set up only to obtain convictions without regard to US and international law. Justice is being discarded at Guantanamo in the name of political expediency.

How’s that Nobel Peace Prize looking now, Mr. President?

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Jim White

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