Khadr refuses to attend Guantanamo hearing

The Miami HeraldApril 29, 2010 

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Accused Canadian war criminal Omar Khadr refused to come to his hearing Thursday, complaining that guards were "trying to humiliate" him by clamping blinders over his eyes.

Khadr, who claims he was tortured while held as a teen in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, missed the second day of his hearing considering whether his confessions to interrogators years ago were voluntary.

The showdown started at 5:15 a.m., said Marine Cpt. Laura Bruzzese, a prison camps lawyer, after he had engaged in early morning "prayer with some of his brothers." First he complained of pain in his shrapnel-blinded eye, and was taken to the detention center hospital for a drop to ease it.

Soon after, guards took him to a windowless security van for the short trip to Camp Justice where Khadr refused to don what troops call "his eyes and ears" — blacked out ski goggles and sound-deafening earmuffs.

"You're trying to humiliate me," she quoted him as saying.

Lawyers for Khadr are trying to get the military judge, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, to exclude all of his 2002 and 2003 confessions to U.S. interrogators, arguing that as a 15- and 16-year-old severely wounded captive he did not cooperate voluntarily.

Parrish said he would not interfere with prison security procedures but recessed the session at 11 a.m. to give lawyers time to reason with their client.

Otherwise, the judge said, he might order guards to bring Khadr to court "forcefully" in the afternoon to explain to him how "fundamental" it is to attend every hearing.

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