Khadr’s Day in Court: August 10
So now that the pre-trial hearing in Omar Khadr’s military commission has recessed while the government conducts a mental-health exam of the 23-year old detainee, when will Khadr’s proceedings actually resume? July and August, just in time for the most oppressively baking temperatures that Guantanamo Bay has to offer!
According to the judge in the case, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, the final phase of the pre-trial “suppression” hearing — to determine whether Khadr’s statements to interrogators are sufficiently voluntary for the government to use against him — will begin on July 12. That’s when the government’s assessment of Khadr’s mental state as a 15 and 16-year old detainee in American custody, raised by the defense, will square off against Khadr’s attorneys’ experts, who will contend that a teenager under military interrogation is inherently under duress. It emerged during the first phase of the hearing that Khadr’s first interrogator told him a “fictional story” about a young detainee raped and killed for not cooperating with his captors.
The actual trial phase of the military commission, in which the government will seek to prove that Khadr threw a grenade in 2002 that killed U.S. Army Special Forces Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, will commence on August 10. That’s the first military commission of the Obama era. And it may not even happen: both the government and Khadr’s attorneys have publicly acknowledged seeking a plea deal to settle the government’s case against Khadr. But if they can’t reach one, it’s back to Guantanamo on August 10 for a hot and tense trial.