Omar and his mom
The Bush administration denied that there were *children* in Guatanamo Bay, even though there were a number of nations protesting about it. From May 28, 2006
The notorious US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay has been hit by fresh allegations of human rights abuses, with claims that dozens of children were sent there - some as young as 14 years old.
Lawyers in London estimate that more than 60 detainees held at the terrorists' prison camp were boys under 18 when they were captured.
They include at least 10 detainees still held at the US base in Cuba who were 14 or 15 when they were seized - including child soldiers who were held in solitary confinement, repeatedly interrogated and allegedly tortured.
The disclosures threaten to plunge the Bush administration into a fresh row with Britain, its closest ally in the war on terror, only days after the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, repeated his demands for the closure of the detention facility. It was, he said, a "symbol of injustice".
Whitehall sources said the new allegations, from the London-based legal rights group Reprieve, directly contradicted the Bush administration's assurances to the UK that no juveniles had been held there. "We would take a very, very dim view if it transpires that there were actually minors there," said an official.
And this article from 2003 from the BBC (I also remember seeing articles from Norway and Germany denouncing the US for imprisoning children and without charges).
....news of the teenage combatants has angered civil rights campaigners, drawing condemnation from Amnesty International.
"That the US sees nothing wrong with holding children at Guantanamo and interrogating them is a shocking indicator of how cavalier the Bush administration has become about respecting human rights," spokesman Alistair Hodgett told the Associated Press news agency.
Since the first group of detainees was sent to the camp in January 2002, several inmates have attempted suicide, and several have been released for lack of evidence.
Afghan prisoners released from US detention in Guantanamo Bay have spoken of being kept in small cages and interrogated dozens of times to try to prove links to al-Qaeda or the Taleban.
So.. No Minors, eh? Yes, there were, and one of them, Omar Khadr, who is now 20 years old but was 15 when he got put in, had charges dropped against him today. Not all, because he has other charges (and won't be able to even have an ATTORNEY with him at the military proceeding), but it shows not only the lies of the Bush administration but also the injustice of the proceedings. Imagine spending FIVE YEARS in Gitmo when you're still a child BEFORE you actually go to trial and hear the charges against you-then you don't get to have any representation. I wouldn't treat a dog this bad, but this is supposed to be AMERICA.
Colonel Brownback said that the military commission lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case against Mr. Khadr because he was not designated an “unlawful” enemy combatant by an earlier military hearing here that considered whether he was properly held at Guantánamo.
“A person has a right to be tried only by a court which he knows has jurisdiction over him,” Judge Brownback said from the bench in the military courtroom here
Under directives from President Bush and senior Defense Department officials, military officials here have held detainees after finding simply that they were “enemy combatants.”
Those procedures have long drawn criticism, with some opponents of the administration’s policies saying they appeared to ignore principles of the international law of war that permit the violence of battle without classifying it a war crime.
Judge Brownback said that a provision of the law Congress passed last year empowered a commission to hear a war crimes case only if a prior hearing here — known as a combatant status review tribunal — had determined that a detainee was an “unlawful enemy combatant.”
And, from MSNBC
Khadr, a Canadian who was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan, and a Yemeni accused of chauffeuring Osama bin Laden had faced terrorism charges Monday under a reconfigured military tribunal system that critics say remains unconstitutional.....
Khadr’s attorneys had decried the charges against him, saying he was a child soldier and should be rehabilitated, not imprisoned.
“The U.S. will be the first country in modern history to try an individual who was a child at the time of the alleged war crimes,” the attorneys said in a joint statement in April.
Khadr fired his American attorneys last week, leaving only two Canadian lawyers in his corner. Because they are classified as foreign attorney consultants, they will not be at the defense table in the hilltop courthouse here.