Former al-Qaida Fighter Pleads Guilty to Murder

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2010 — A for­mer al-Qai­da fight­er in Afghanistan has plead­ed guilty to mul­ti­ple charges for his role in a bat­tle with coali­tion troops in Afghanistan in 2002, mil­i­tary offi­cials announced.

Omar Khadr plead­ed guilty yes­ter­day in a mil­i­tary com­mis­sion at Naval Sta­tion Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba, to mur­der, attempt­ed mur­der, pro­vid­ing mate­r­i­al sup­port to ter­ror­ism, con­spir­a­cy, and spy­ing in vio­la­tion of the laws of war. A hear­ing to deter­mine his sen­tence begins today.

Khadr, rep­re­sent­ed by two U.S. mil­i­tary attor­neys at no cost to him, admit­ted in open court to throw­ing a grenade on July 27, 2002, that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christo­pher J. Speer fol­low­ing a four-hour fire­fight between al-Qai­da and U.S. forces. Khadr also admit­ted that in the months pri­or to the fire­fight, he con­vert­ed land mines to impro­vised explo­sive devices and helped plant ten of them with the intent of killing U.S. forces.

Khadr agreed to waive his right to tri­al and plead guilty in exchange for a lim­i­ta­tion on his sen­tence. Under the Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sions Act of 2009, a pan­el of mil­i­tary offi­cers, or “mem­bers” of the com­mis­sion, will deter­mine the sen­tence. The commission’s con­ven­ing author­i­ty may accept the sen­tence or reduce it.

The commission’s pre­sid­ing mil­i­tary judge, Army Col. Patrick Par­rish, ques­tioned Khadr as to whether he under­stood the charges against him, his rights, and if his plea was vol­un­tary. Par­rish said he was sat­is­fied that Khadr under­stood and that his plea was legit­i­mate.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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