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Video shows interrogation of teen at Guantanamo

  • Story Highlights
  • Lawyer: Video shows that prisoner has been wrongly vilified in the media
  • Omar Khadr, a Canadian, taken prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was 15
  • Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier
  • A 2003 video shows Khadr's interrogation by Canadian agents
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(CNN) -- A 16-year-old Canadian prisoner weeps and buries his face in his hands in an interrogation video that provides the first public look at such an interview at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The lawyers for Omar Khadr, now 21 and still at Guantanamo, released the 10-minute 2003 segment on the Internet early Tuesday before releasing about eight hours of interrogation footage in Edmonton, Alberta, in the afternoon.

Khadr was 15 in 2002 when he was shot and taken into U.S. custody in Afghanistan, accused of killing an American soldier. The footage released Tuesday shows him being questioned by Canadian intelligence agents.

Khadr's defense team wants him returned to Canada for trial. His U.S. military attorney, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, told Canadian Television that the video -- which was shot over four days through a heating vent in the wall -- shows that Khadr has been wrongly vilified in the media.

"What I take away from these tapes is really the lie that has been told about Omar Khadr," Kuebler said.

"He's been portrayed as this 15-year-old bloodthirsty terrorist or hardened terrorist. What I take away from this video is that this is a frightened ... kid who is literally begging for help from Canadian authorities.

"It really puts the lie to the justification for holding Omar and treating him as an adult these many years."

Omar Khadr

• Canadian citizen

• Captured in Afghanistan in 2002 at age 15

• Accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier

Khadr, whose family is alleged to have ties to al Qaeda, is accused of lobbing a grenade that killed U.S. Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Christopher James Speer after a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.

Canadian defense attorney Nathan Whitling, appearing at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, criticized Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to persuade the United States to send Khadr home for trial.

Whitling, one of Khadr's attorneys, said Khadr is the last citizen of a Western nation detained at Guantanamo. Video Watch Whitling's comments »

"Every other Western leader, and many non-Western governments, have recognized that Guantanamo Bay is an affront to the rule of law and has demanded the return of their citizens to face justice at home," Whitling said.

Khadr's legal team said he was happy on the first day of shooting the video because he thought his Canadian interrogator was going to take him home. His mood became more morose in the next three days.

In the video, Khadr is seen removing his orange prison shirt to show wounds he says he received during torture. Video Watch a glimpse of the interrogation »

While crying, he says, "I requested medical for a long time" but didn't get it. "I lost my eyes; I lost my feet, everything."

But the interrogator responds, "No, you still have your eyes. Your feet are still at the end of your legs.

"Look, I want to take a few minutes, let you get yourself together ... relax a bit, have a bite to eat.

"I understand this is stressful, but by using this strategy to talk to us, it's not going to be any more helpful. We've got a limited amount of time."

Khadr then says, "You don't care about me."

His interrogator responds, "I do care about you, but I want to talk to the honest Omar that I was talking to yesterday."

"I will be honest," Khadr responds.

Before a break, a woman asks Khadr to put his shirt back on, and someone turns on a fan. Khadr, seen through a one-way mirror, sobs uncontrollably while alone.

At a news conference Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said Khadr has not been mistreated.

"Our policy is to treat detainees humanely, and Khadr has been treated humanely," Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon said.

Asked about allegations that Khadr was sleep-deprived to weaken him before the Canadian interrogation, Gordon said: "We don't respond to every allegation. He was treated humanely."

Gordon also was asked about defense lawyers' efforts to get Khadr returned to Canada.

"We believe Khadr should be held accountable for his actions. His trial date has been set for October," Gordon said. "The charges are grave."

In April 2007, Khadr was formally charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and spying, according to his charge sheets.

Whitling said Khadr has said his father was with him in the July 27, 2002, battle but abandoned him to the militants and fled.

"As a 15-year-old boy, he had no choice but to do what his father told him to do," Whitling said.

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Layne Morris, who lost his right eye in the battle, said the boy knew what he was doing when he attacked. Morris said he was wounded in an initial firefight that was followed by an aerial bombardment.

Khadr attacked, he said, after that bombardment when soldiers went to clear the area. Khadr was the only one of five insurgents left alive, Morris said.

"They waited until there was maximum exposure," Morris said. "They wanted to go out with a bang. They started it."


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia concluded last year that the U.S. military could not limit what information the courts hear when foreign detainees are challenging their imprisonment and ordered that documents related to Khadr's case be released.

Canadian federal Justice Richard Mosely ordered that tapes of Khadr's interrogation be provided to his attorneys for his defense.

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