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Leniency Is Urged for Teen Held by U.S.

September 17, 2002|From Associated Press

TORONTO — Canada wants more information about a 15-year-old Canadian citizen captured by U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan and has asked Washington to take his age into account as it decides what to do with him.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Carl Schwenger said Monday that the International Committee of the Red Cross has visited the boy, Omar Khadr, who is being held by U.S. forces at Bagram air base north of Kabul, the Afghan capital. He could be transferred to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an enemy combatant, Schwenger said.

Khadr, the son of an alleged Al Qaeda financier, was captured July 27 after being wounded during a battle in which a U.S. soldier was killed and four others were hurt.

Canada has asked for consular access to the teenager. The U.S. State Department replied by saying only that Canada would be notified if any of its citizens are sent to Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants. Schwenger said Canada responded to the State Department by noting that Khadr is a minor. Canada hasn't contested the U.S. refusal so far.

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