The preliminary legal maneuvering in the military trial of suspected terrorist Omar Khadr serves up two starkly different images, portraying him both as a child forced into war by adults and as a committed al Qaeda fighter.
Prosecutor Jeff Groharing told the court Monday morning that Khadr was aware of al Qaeda ideology. "He embraced it and used it to justify his own activities," Groharing said.
At the same time Pentagon-appointed defense attorney, Lt. Colonel Jon Jackson, has repeatedly called Khadr a "child soldier" who was forced into fighting in Afghanistan by adults and later threatened with rape and death if he did not provide statements to U.S. interrogators.
"Tell the government they cannot and will not benefit from someone being threatened with rape and murder," Jackson asked the judge, Colonel Pat Parrish.
Lt. Colonel Jackson said the court should refuse to admit into evidence all government interrogation sessions with Khadr as well as a video shown in the courtroom today of Khadr resisting efforts to weigh him at Guantanamo.
Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan, is charged with assisting al Qaeda and of killing a U.S. Special Forces soldier. During the courtroom arguments Khadr can been seen on a closed-circuit television link provided to journalists at Guantanamo slumped in his chair, reading documents and conversing with others at the defense table. He is flanked by three uniformed guards, sitting behind him.