Omar Khadr: The Boy Who Lived

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Omar Khadr was the youngest inmate ever to be held at Guantanamo Bay. A Canadian, he was in Afghanistan with his family when the government invaded in 2001, and being 15 years of age, should have been declared a child soldier – thus a victim of war, not an active combatant. The images of him after having been seriously wounded by the U.S. invaders are horrific, and to think that he then spent 12 years first in Bagram then in Guantanamo is unconscionable; he was subjected to brutal torture methods while the Canadian government did nothing to help and actively participated in his interrogation. Omar eventually pleaded guilty to murder and was charged with committing a war crime by an American kangaroo court. Killing an enemy soldier by throwing a grenade in the midst of a war isn’t a war crime, and all the evidence suggests that Omar’s victim, Speer, was actually killed by friendly fire; there is no evidence that he was killed by Omar. The U.S. government claimed that Speer was a medic and therefore not legally a target, however in actual fact Speer had only taken a medical course and was in Afghanistan as a soldier. Omar states that he only pleaded guilty as he did not see any other way of leaving Guantanamo, and was eventually moved to a Canadian prison, where he spent two years in solitary confinement.

Despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper doing all he could to block Omar’s release, as of this week he is a free man (his lawyer has labeled Harper an anti-Muslim bigot). He is living with his lawyer’s family, and already had been granted a place at a Christian university while in his Canadian prison. His story is a serious indictment of the American legal system and the post-9/11 War on Terror, which should actually be renamed the War of Terror. A child tortured by America in the name of freedom, the US media are still referring to him as a ‘terrorist’, ‘murderer’ and ‘war criminal,’ in their coverage of his new found freedom.

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