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'Child soldier' case raises questions on age, defense team

Publication Date: 
June 04, 2007
The Miami Herald
Carol Rosenberg

Stanford international law expert Allen Weiner is quoted in "The Miami Herald" about a 20-year-old Guantanamo detainee who was captured at age 15. Reporter Carol Rosenberg writes:

After nearly five years of interrogation and detention at Guantánamo, the Pentagon also accuses him, at age 15, of training with al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks and planting roadside bombs to shred U.S. soldiers on passing patrols.

...The Pentagon's chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, says the Bush administration may be setting a precedent with the prosecution. But, he adds, he took Khadr's age into account in choosing not to seek his execution, if he is convicted.

Both Canada and the United States, said Davis, have young adults who murdered at age 15 and are serving life sentences.

...But, some experts counter, the United States didn't choose to charge Khadr in a U.S. or Canadian criminal court. Instead, it bypassed established courts in what he called ''the law-free-zone status of Guantánamo,'' said Stanford law Professor Allen S. Weiner, a former State Department career lawyer.