The most famous kid at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is Omar Khadr. A Canadian citizen, he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was only 15. The U.S. charges that he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier. He faces a murder trial, which his lawyers are resisting, noting that he was a child at the time of the alleged crime. The U.S. has said Khadr was among the few juveniles being held at Guantánamo Bay. But a TIME analysis of data released earlier this month by the Pentagon indicates that Gitmo might have held as many as 24 prisoners under age 18, more than previously known. The real figure could be higher, given imprecise date-of-birth data for some detainees.
Many experts argue that international law, including the Geneva Conventions, requires that child prisoners be separated from adults and receive education while in detention. U.S. federal law has similar requirements and defines a juvenile as under 18. The Pentagon, which classifies only those younger than 16 as juveniles, has never denied that some Gitmo inmates under 18 were not segregated. Many of these youths were subject to the same conditions and interrogations as the adults. Some still at Gitmo have claimed through their lawyers that they have been beaten or abused.
Pentagon spokesman Lieut. Commander Jeffrey Gordon told TIME that no juveniles are currently incarcerated at Gitmo; they have either matured past age 18 behind bars or been freed. Some kids--including three Afghans thought to be 10, 12 and 13 when they arrived--were segregated from adults, allowed to play sports and given lessons. But in many ways, they were viewed as no different from their grownup fellow inmates. In April 2003 General Richard Myers, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the three "may be juveniles but they're not on a Little League team anywhere. They're on a major-league team, and it's a terrorist team, and they're in Guantánamo for a very good reason--for our safety." Soon afterward, the three were released.