Canada

Canadian teenager cries in Guantanamo interrogation video
Detainees at a temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A sobbing Canadian teenager begged for help as he was interrogated at the US "war on terror" camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the very first video glimpse of any such questioning released on Tuesday. (AFP/DoD/File/Shane T. Mccoy)

Canadian teenager cries in Guantanamo interrogation video

July 14, 2008
AFP

OTTAWA - A sobbing Canadian teenager begged for help as he was questioned in the first video glimpse of interrogations at the US "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo Bay released Tuesday.

The video was posted online by attorneys for terror suspect Omar Khadr, who is shown being questioned at the prison by Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents in February, 2003.

Khadr is the youngest detainee at Guantanamo, accused of killing a US soldier in a firefight in Afghanistan.

He has been held at the US naval facility in eastern Cuba since his arrest in 2002, when he was 15 years old, and faces a US military commission on terrorism charges in October.

"Help me, help me, help me," Khadr says repeatedly for 20 minutes in the video, weeping, holding his head in his hands.

The footage covers seven and a half hours of questioning over four days. It depicts a dejected young man, tense from the pang of injuries suffered in a brush with US soldiers six months earlier.

In one excerpt, Khadr tugs at his hair, and pulls his orange prisoner suit over his head to show his interrogator his battle scars.

"I lost my eyes. I lost my feet. Everything," he wails.

The US government alleges Khadr was the lone survivor of a four-hour US bombardment of an Al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002, who rose from the rubble and killed a US sergeant with a grenade.

Khadr's US lawyer, Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler, instead described him to a Canadian Commons committee as a "frightened, wounded, 15-year-old boy ... who sat slumped against a bush while a battle raged around him."

During the melee, Khadr was shot at least twice in the back by US soldiers. He is said to have no vision in one eye, and sight in the other is deteriorating because of shrapnel embedded in the eye membrane.

"You look like you're doing well to me," the interrogator says in the video, his face blurred. "I'm not a doctor but I think you're getting good medical care."

"You say this is healthy?" Khadr asks. "I can't move my arm."

"No, you still have your eyes, and your feet are still at the ends of your legs," the interrogator replies, urging him to cooperate.

"You don't care about me," Khadr tells the interrogator. "Nobody cares about me."

An eight-minute video was initially posted on the Internet and a complete version on five DVDs was issued later on Tuesday by Khadr's lawyers, following a Canadian court order.

In the video, apparently shot through the flaps of a ventilation shaft, Khadr is asked what he knows about Al-Qaeda and questioned about his Islamic faith.

At one point, an interrogator tries to calm Khadr, who is clearly distraught, saying he needs to get a "bite to eat" and adding: "I understand this is stressful."

When Khadr complains his compatriots have not helped his case and says he just wants to return home, the interrogator replies: "We can't do anything for you."

The video shows no beating or physical abuse of Khadr.

But his Canadian lawyer Nathan Whitling said US authorities "manipulated Omar's environment outside the interrogation room before Canadian interrogations to induce cooperation within the interrogation room," citing documents released last week.

According to the files from the Foreign Intelligence Division of Canada's Foreign Affairs department, Khadr was forcibly sleep deprived by his US captors to soften him up for questioning by CSIS agents.

The documents also said that after Canadian officials met with Khadr in March 2004, he was due to be placed in isolation for three weeks before being interviewed again.

A Canadian federal judge studying the documents said Khadr's treatment violated international laws on human rights, and ordered them released to Khadr's lawyers last month.

Human rights groups and Canada's opposition parties have since demanded Khadr be released from Guantanamo, saying his age at the time of capture precludes any war crime proceeding.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier this month he would not ask the US government to repatriate Khadr. His office maintained that position Tuesday.

"It's time for this travesty to stop, and for Omar Khadr to come home to Canada to face justice under Canadian law," said Whitling.

"This kid has suffered enough. This kid needs to come home. This kid is not a terrorist," echoed Dennis Edney, another of Khadr's lawyers.

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