Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Guilty Plea at Guantanamo

A Canadian citizen who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 and has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for years pleaded guilty today in a military trial at the U.S. base in Cuba, Reuters reported. Omar Khadr, 24, accepted a plea deal that caps his sentence at 8 years; it could send him back to Canada in a year, according to Reuters.

Khadr faced five terror-related charges before a U.S. military commission. He is the second Guantanamo detainee to plead guilty through the controversial process.

He admitted he conspired with al-Qaida and killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer with a grenade during a battle near Khost, Afghanistan in 2002, according to the Reuters report.

Khadr's lawyers told the military commission that the United States had agreed to send Khadr back to Canada in 1 year to serve out his sentence, if Canada agrees.

A seven-person jury of U.S. military officers will hear testimony Tuesday and then impose a sentence. Khadr will serve whichever sentence is shorter: the commission's or the plea bargain.

The United States is the first nation since World War Ii to prosecute someone before a war crimes tribunal for acts he allegedly committed as a minor, Reuters reported.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.