We must cut through the noise and expose those who try to use Malala's suffering to rehabilitate a murderous occupation and a cruel and illegal drone war.
The shameful treatment of foreign children in U.S. custody
The government bars me from arguing on behalf of my client, a Pakistani boy seized when he was 14
By John J. Connolly
1:26 p.m. EST, December 20, 2012
The State Department revealed this month that the United States has detained more than 200 children at its military prison in Afghanistan. I represent one of them, a boy who left his parents' home in Karachi, Pakistan in July 2008, when he was 14, on a trip to his grandparents' house in western Pakistan. He was allegedly captured in Afghanistan a few weeks later and has been "detained" at Bagram Air Force Base ever since. What frustrates me about the State Department report is not the number of children detained, but that the U.S. won't let me or other lawyers make a case that these children should be released. According to the U.S., the children can make that case themselves — perhaps with the assistance of a military "personal representative" — but not with the help of a parent, guardian, friend or lawyer.
The detention of children during armed conflict is not new. It has occurred for many reasons, sometimes to protect the child from society and other times to protect society from the child. Since the end of World War II, however, a consensus has emerged that children caught up in armed conflict are usually victims. Over the last 60 years, civilized societies have adopted an array of principles, laws and treaties to protect children from war.