The first military commission of a detainee renditioned to the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay under the Obama Administration opened Tuesday. Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was kidnapped eight years ago in Afghanistan at the age of 15 by the U.S. military, threatened with rape in detention at the U.S. air base at Bagram, transferred to Guantánamo where he was tortured until he confessed that he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier. Monday evening, Texas A&M at Qatar associate professor Todd Kent noted that it will likely not be a political issue for the Adminsitration because the mainstream media is downplaying it, though criminal justice is a large part of the president’s avatar, at Al Jazeera English’s “Inside Story”—which focused on the coming so-called ‘trial’ (23:41):

Tuesday, the military judge ruled the defendant’s statement obtained by torture would be admissible in the military commission.

10 Aug 2010 | AJE

The first trial of a Guantanamo detainee under the Obama administration is about to get under way.

The cases will focus on two men facing terrorism charges.

One has already pleaded guilty: The 50-year old Sudanese national, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, could be sentenced as early as Monday.

He is accused of acting as an accountant and supply chief for Al Qaeda and as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.

The other is a 23-year-old Canadian national. Omar Khadr, was 15 years old when he was arrested, and he says he was tortured and threatened with rape.

He has been in American custody since 2002, having been captured in Afghanistan.

He is accused of perpetrating war crimes against the U.S., having allegedly detonated a hand grenade that killed a US soldier.

Barack Obama, the U.S. president, had promised to close the detention center that has been the object of international condemnation, but he has faced congressional opposition on transferring the detainees to the U.S.

What is the legality of the so-called military commissions? And who is really calling the shots here—the president or the Pentagon?

“Inside Story”, with presenter Teymoor Nabili, discusses with Asim Qureshi, the executive director of the Cageprisoners organisation, Sunny Hundal, the editor of and a writer for the Guardian newspaper, Todd Kent, an assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M, University at Qatar.

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