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article imageCanadian man pleads guilty to war crimes

By R. Francis Rubio     Oct 25, 2010 in World
Canadian detainee Omar Khadr accepted a deal from the United States and pleaded guilty to all five counts of terrorism brought against him on Monday.
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - Seated beside his Canadian lawyer and his U.S. Military lawyer, Reuters reports that Omar Khadr listened to the charges presented to him by judge Army Colonel Patric Parrish, and with his head in his hands Khadr admitted his guilt by answering "yes" to all five charges one by one.
Tabitha Speer, the widow of U.S. Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Speer who died as the result of a grenade attack by Khadr, sat in the front row crying and grasping her sister's hand as the admission of guilt was made.
Khadr is the fifth prisoner tried and convicted of terrorism charges overall, and the second under the Obama Administration since the establishment of the U.S. Military Tribunal Court shortly after 9/11 at the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay.
Acknowledging the court's jurisdiction to try him, Khadr admitted to conspiring with al Qaeda, planting roadside bombs in Afghanistan and throwing the grenade in a 2002 fire fight that killed Sergeant 1st Class Speer.
Only a mere 15 at the time of his capture and with his trial widely criticized around the world, lawyers for Khadr attempted to argue (in vain) the case that their client was a child soldier and rather than being prosecuted, Khadr should be rehabilitated.
His lawyers also told the court, the United States agreed to support Khadr's request to finish the rest of his sentence in Canada after serving one year in Guantanamo Bay, but leaving that decision ultimately up to the Canadian government.
In response to Khadr's request a spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told Reuters that, "This matter is between Mr. Khadr and the U.S. government. We have no further comment."
Mr. Khadr's plea deal (the terms of which had not been disclosed) may have saved him from serving a life sentence for his crimes, although the details have not been released, it has been reported that the lawyers were discussing an eight year cap on his sentence.
The court will hear testimony Tuesday on the actions of Khadr and the impact caused by those actions before sentence is imposed.
More about Afghanistan, Canada, War crimes, Gitmo, Guantanamo bay
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