Outsiders are getting a glimpse of the interrogation process for people held as enemy combatants in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Lawyers for a young Canadian-born prisoner have released seven hours of videotape showing their client facing questioning in 2003.
The grainy video shows four different angles of an interrogation room where Omar Khadr, then 16, was questioned by a Canadian intelligence agent. Khadr had been captured the year before in Afghanistan after surviving an airstrike on a militant compound. He is accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade.
Khadr's father was involved in militant causes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and had links to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. He allowed his son to live among the followers of Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaida figure who was reportedly killed last January by a CIA missile strike.
In excerpts from the video, some of it shot through what appears to be an air-conditioning grate, Khadr is frequently seen weeping and covering his face with his hands. He complains that he was tortured at a military detention center at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and raises his shirt to show what he says are injuries from that torture.
The Canadian agent, whose face is hidden by a large black dot, tells Khadr that he seems to be getting good medical care, but Khadr responds that he is not. "I lost my eyes," he says. "I lost my feet — everything!"
Khadr had lost some vision as a result of injuries he received during the airstrike that led to his capture. The agent urges Khadr to relax and eat a hamburger the agent had brought for him. Khadr replies: "You don't care about me."
Khadr is scheduled to face a military tribunal at Guantanamo in October. One of Khadr's lawyers, Dennis Edney, told The Toronto Star that the video was released in an effort to stir outrage among Canadians over Khadr's treatment. The young man's defense team is hoping to bring public pressure to bear on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has said that he will not intervene in an effort to get Khadr released.