First Guantánamo military tribunal under Obama gears up
A military judge ruled Monday that statements made by Omar Khadr, who is charged of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan, can be used in the trial, which is set to start Tuesday. Mr. Khadr's lawyers say the statements were coerced.
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If convicted he faces up to life in prison.Skip to next paragraph
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A test for trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind
The Khadr trial could become an important test for the Obama administration, which is still struggling to find an appropriate location and court to try suspected 9/11 mastermind Khaled Shaikh Mohammed.
The Guantánamo trial also underscores the failure of President Obama to fulfill a pledge on his first day in the White House that he would close Guantánamo within a year. The effort was complicated by congressional opposition to relocating Guantánamo detainees to US soil and the increase in violent Al Qaeda-linked activities in Yemen.
He moved with his family to Pakistan when he was two years old. His father was allegedly an Al Qaeda ally and associate of Osama bin Laden. After the 9/11 attacks, Khadr, then 14, followed his father into Afghanistan. His father was killed.
Khadr’s lawyers argue that the teen was under the strong influence of his father when he joined the fight in Afghanistan. He is now 23 years old and has lived a third of his life behind bars at Guantanamo.
Defense lawyers had tried a last-ditch effort to derail the military commission trial, appealing on Friday to the US Supreme Court. The high court turned the appeal aside without comment.
On Aug. 4, a three-judge federal appeals court panel also rejected Khadr’s case. The panel said that Khadr must wait until after a final verdict in his trial before he can file an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the military commission process.
Ruling for bin Laden's cook
Also on Monday, a military judge accepted a plea deal that limited the sentence of a former bin Laden cook and body guard. In an unusual move, the judge ordered the agreement sealed.
The secrecy was requested by military prosecutors, but was also agreed to by lawyers for the defendant, Ibrahim al Qosi.
Mr. al Qosi pleaded guilty July 7 to one count of conspiracy and one count of providing material support to Al Qaeda. Had he stood trial and been convicted he could have faced life in prison.