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Canadian Guantanamo inmate turns down US plea deal

world Updated: Jul 12, 2010 21:46 IST

AFP
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A young Canadian, the last Westerner held in the Guantanamo Bay military jail, said Monday he has turned down a US deal to serve a reduced sentence in return for pleading guilty.

"I will not take any of the offers because it'll give the US government an excuse for torturing me and abusing me when I was a child," Omar Khadr, 23, told a military tribunal at the remote jail in Cuba.

He confirmed he had been offered a deal under which he would only have to serve five years of a 30-year sentence if he admitted war crimes charges, which normally carry a life term.

US forces in Afghanistan took Khadr prisoner when he was just 15 years old in July 2002. He was later charged with war crimes for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier.

Khadr also said he no longer intended to participate in the proceedings after he fired his defense team last week, for the third time.

"It's going to be the same thing with lawyers or without lawyers. It's gonna be life sentence," he said, complaining that the court as unfair.

When presiding judge Patrick Parrish told Khadr he had to be present in court to represent himself without his layers, the young man replied: "I might be present but I won't be participating."

"How can I ask for justice from a process that doesn't offer it?" he added.