[News] Judge Denies Mental Exam For Teenage Guantanamo Detainee

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Thu Oct 28 08:56:14 EDT 2004


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US Judge Denies Mental Exam For Guantanamo Detainee

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
October 26, 2004 7:23 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP)--A federal judge says he will not allow an
18-year-old Canadian held with other terror suspects at a
U.S. naval station in Cuba to be examined to determine if
he is mentally fit to help his defense.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled Tuesday that there
is no legal basis to order a mental competence exam before
Omar Khadr's status is reviewed by a military tribunal at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Khadr, who was 15 when U.S. forces captured him in
Afghanistan, was wounded in a battle that killed a U.S.
soldier and injured four others, the military says.

The son of an alleged al-Qaida financier, Khadr is among
about 550 men from more than 40 countries being held on
suspicion of links to the terror network or the fallen
Taliban militia that ruled Afghanistan and sheltered
al-Qaida fighters.

The request for a medical exam was made by Khadr's
grandmother, who has challenged the legality of her
grandson's detention and conditions of his confinement.
Similar challenges have been filed by other detainees in
the first wave of court filings since the Supreme Court
ruled in June that the prisoners may use American courts to
contest their detentions.

His grandmother claims Khadr is in poor and deteriorating
physical and mental health and asked the court to order
examinations and release his medical records. She said
Khadr suffered severe psychological trauma during the
battle that gave him shrapnel wounds and cost him his
vision in his left eye.

Bates reviewed medical records provided by prison officials
and said he found no evidence to raise doubts about Khadr's
competence.

Khadr's father, Ahem Said Khadr, is an Egyptian-born
Canadian citizen arrested in Pakistan in 1995 after a
bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad. He was later
released, and his whereabouts are unknown.

More lawsuits are expected on behalf of other Guantanamo
prisoners, some of whom have been at the prison for more
than 2 1/2 years, with little or no contact with the
outside world.

Last week, another federal judge ruled that the government
must allow terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay to meet
with lawyers and must not monitor conversations between the
attorneys and their clients.



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