GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL STATION, Cuba — Omar Khadr made a jailhouse vow of revenge for the United States’ “war against Islam,” a military court here heard Monday.
“I’m not being treated humanely,” Khadr said in a 2006 video, which shows U.S. guards trying to obey Red Cross rules by weighing him.
“You will stand before God and he will take our revenge … you will remember my words.
“Sooner or later, God will take our revenge … Somebody’s going to take our revenge. If not God, then somebody else.”
Khadr, who pleaded not guilty to his war crimes Monday, made the statements in a May 29, 2006, video shot by guards at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
The video was shown in court at a pretrial hearing here Monday.
At one point, prior to Khadr vowing revenge, seven guards pin Khadr to the scale when he acts up.
Khadr’s Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney, described the threatening comments as “peevish,” and warned they are a “distraction” to the abuse and mistreatment of Khadr here.
“You have a young man who’s upset about being weighed. He was upset,” Edney said. “Was it peevish behaviour? Possibly, but that’s just a distraction. It’s a distraction from his abuse and treatment over the years here.”
But the prosecution says the video helps prove their point.
“Part of the government’s theory is that there was intentionality on the part of Mr. Khadr, that there was no coercion on his part by other parties, that he freely and voluntarily acted in a manner that we believe violates the law of armed conflict,” said Capt. David Iglesias, a spokesman for the prosecution.
“That type of videotape is an important component to the government … proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Khadr is alleged to have thrown a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in a July 2002 gun battle in Afghanistan.
In addition to murder, Khadr, now 23, is also charged with attempted murder for planting explosives along a travel route frequented by U.S. troops, conspiracy, supporting terrorism and spying.
On Monday, the last day of pretrial hearings before Khadr’s historic war crimes trial begins on Wednesday, Khadr appeared in white prison clothing and periodically flipped through the pages of a soccer magazine.
At the hearing, Col. Pat Parrish, the judge presiding over the military commission, ruled Khadr’s confessions will be allowed as evidence and also denied two other defence motions — to exclude a video found on the battlefield that allegedly shows Khadr preparing explosives and to remove Khadr’s guards from the courtroom.
Edney said the judge’s ruling is proof he’s a “toad” and the process is “stacked” against Khadr.
“Judge Parrish should go back to school and learn some of the basic principles of law,” Edney said. “I guess he says it’s OK for a young 15-year-old boy who’s picked up off the battlefield … it’s OK to threaten him with rape and sexual abuse and the statement (confession) is voluntary.”
Khadr has been in U.S. Forces custody since 2002, when he was 15 years old.
Tabitha Speer, the wife of Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, whom Khadr is accused of killing, is expected to be in court for the trial later this week.