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Guantánamo prosecutor asks jury to jail Khadr 25 more years

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- A Pentagon prosecutor on Saturday asked a military jury to send both U.S. troops and al Qaeda warriors a message by sentencing confessed war criminal Omar Khadr to 25 more years confinement.

An Army lawyer for Khadr, captured at 15, said it was time to send the Toronto-born teen terrorist home from Guantánamo.

``Your sentence will send a message,'' case prosecutor Jeffrey Groharing told the jury of seven U.S. officers. ``This type of warfare is despicable and reprehensible and there are consequences.''

Khadr, now 24, was captured at age 15 in a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan and Monday pleaded guilty to five war crimes, including hurling a hand grenade that killed a Special Forces medic, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during an assault on a suspected al Qaeda compound.

He has spent eight years at Guantánamo, and signed a plea bargain with a Pentagon official that the United States would support his return to Canada a year from now to serve out seven more years in a Canadian prison.

But the jury doesn't know it. Only if it gives him a smaller sentence would the punishment prevail.

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