Languages
Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 14:46 UK

Rare glimpse inside Guantanamo Bay

By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

Omar Khadr being interrogated
Omar Khadr is seen slumped during interrogation, his head in his hands
The secret world of interrogations at Guantanamo Bay has been partially revealed in a video extract of the questioning of Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr.

The video is part of a seven-hour long series of DVDs that a court in Canada ordered released to Mr Khadr's lawyers as they prepare his defence for a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. The hearing is scheduled for October.

Mr Khadr's lawyers will no doubt hope to use it to show that he is not so much a terrorist as a young person.

He was described as such by one of his Canadian interrogators, Jim Gould.

Mr Gould said in a written report on the series of interrogations Omar Khadr underwent that as an "amateur observer of the human condition" he would describe Omar as "a thoroughly screwed-up young man".

"All those persons who have been in positions of authority over him have abused him and his trust, for their own purposes. In this group can be included his parents and grandparents, his associates in Afghanistan and fellow detainees in Camp Delta and the US military."

The written report has also been made public under a court order.

The interrogation

Omar Khadr had just turned 16 when he was interrogated by Canadian intelligence officers in February 2003.

He had been detained in Afghanistan the previous year after a firefight at a compound that US special forces had surrounded. One American soldier was killed.

This video implicates the Canadian intelligence service in the abuse of someone who was a child when captured
Andy Worthington
Reprieve
The extract is notable for the way in which the main interrogator, one of three sitting at the same table as the prisoner in a small well lit, air-conditioned room, appears to be trying to build a rapport with him to break him down. In the extract, Omar Khadr breaks down in tears. For several minutes he leans forward with his head in his hands and moans "Help me."

Nobody replies immediately.

When Mr Khadr lifts up his orange shirt to show the results of the wounds he had received before being detained, the interrogator says: "I'm not a doctor, but I think you're getting good medical care."

Omar Khadr says: "You don't care about me" and is told: "Look, I want to take a few minutes. I want you to get yourself together. Relax a bit. Have a bite to eat and we'll start again."

In the extract released, there is nothing about why he was in Afghanistan and what had happened in the firefight at the compound.

Written report

However, in the written account Canadian agents reported that he said he had been tortured by the Americans at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and that everything he had said previously was a "lie" because of the "torture".

Video showing Omar Khadr being questioned in 2003
The 10-minute video of the questioning is poor quality and often cuts out
The report says: "Umar has recanted all earlier statements, including his confession to having thrown the grenade that killed the American soldier."

That incident is the basis on which Omar Khadr is being charged.

In the video extract, the interrogator suggests at one stage that Omar is using a strategy to avoid answering questions.

But Andy Worthington, who has followed Omar Khadr's case and who is spokesman for the Reprieve organisation that speaks on behalf of Guantanamo and other prisoners, said: "This video implicates the Canadian intelligence service in the abuse of someone who was a child when captured."

Story of Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen and was born in Toronto. His father Ahmed Said Khadr was arrested in Pakistan and accused of helping to finance al-Qaeda but was later released.

The young Omar got drawn into radical Islamic politics and is said to have visited the compound of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and to have played with his children.

In due course, he met up with militant fighters and at the age of fifteen he was captured by the Americans while with this group.

Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific