President Obama has temporarily halted the military commission trials at Guantanamo while they are reviewed. But if they aren’t disbanded, the U.S. will oversee the first trial of a child soldier accused of war crimes since World War II.
This video shows why President Obama must end the unconstitutional military commissions once and for all, and why he must bring the United States back in line with the treaties it has signed regarding the treatment of juveniles who have been recruited or used in armed conflict.
Here is some background:
Canadian citizen Omar Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan in the midst of a firefight that seriously injured Khadr and resulted in the death of a U.S. solider. Khadr was sent to Guantanamo where he was been held for 7 years — one-third of his life. He was beaten, subject to painful stress positions and even used as a human mop after he urinated on the floor during one interrogation. Under these conditions, the prosecution of Khadr raises grave concerns about the rule of law.
Ending the military commissions will also spare ACLU client Mohammed Jawad from trial in an illegal system. Jawad was sent to Guantanamo after he was captured at about age 16 at the scene of a grenade attack in Afghanistan that injured two U.S. soldiers. Afghan authorities threatened Jawad with his death, and that of his family, if he didn’t confess to the attack. Based on the resulting false confession, Jawad was transferred to U.S. custody where he was further abused. Among other forms of cruel treatment he suffered at Guantanamo, Jawad was subjected to the so-called frequent flyer program, where he was moved every few hours — 112 times over two weeks — to deny him sleep.
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This video features ACLU’s National Security Project attorney Hina Shamsi and Human Rights Program researcher Jennifer Turner. It was produced for the ACLU by Joel Engardio.