GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Alleged teen terrorist Omar Khadr appeared in a grainy video making bombs and reeled off a Who's Who of the al Qaida inner circle for interrogators soon after his capture in Afghanistan, an FBI agent testified in a dramatic day at the war court Thursday.
Khadr, 23, sat through it all hunched over, at times sobbing and dabbing his eyes in what his attorney described as eye pain from shrapnel still in his eyes from his 2002 capture. He had refused all morning to put on blinders for the 15-minute ride from his prison camp to the tribunal chamber.
But back in October 2002, "He said he was proud -- and mentioned he was proud to be a soldier," said FBI agent Robert Fuller, recalling an interrogation in which Khadr claimed that before his capture he had slept with an unloaded AK-47.
At issue this week is whether the Toronto-born teen voluntarily spoke to interrogators after his capture. Tortured confessions plus those obtained through coercion, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment are forbidden under Barack Obama era reforms of military commissions.
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Khadr, Guantanamo's youngest and last western prisoner, is slated for summertime trial for allegedly hurling a grenade that killed a U.S. Special Forces soldier during the firefight at a suspected al Qaida compound near Khost, Afghanistan. Because he was captured at 15, prosecutors chose not to pursue a death penalty case.
The now-burly bearded Khadr appeared sporadically in the 25-minute video found in the rubble of a bombed out building where he was captured. He is smooth-cheeked, with an adolescent's wisp of a mustache and sideburns, at one point sitting cross-legged on a carpet strewn with bomb-making pieces.
An adult observes, "Allah willing we'll get a good number of Americans." Later he appears in a nighttime image, clutching what appears to be a detonator.
Military officials refused to release the images, saying it was still disputed trial evidence. Defense lawyers want it suppressed as the fruit of coercive interrogation.
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