Last westerner moved from Guantanamo
THE youngest prisoner and last westerner held at America’s Guantanamo military base in Cuba was sent home to Canada yesterday.
Omar Khadr, who had been held at Guantanamo for ten years, after being detained while fighting in Afghanistan aged 15, was flown to a military base in Trenton, Ontario, a spokesman for the Canadian government said.
From there, Khadr was transferred to the province’s Millhaven maximum-security prison, Canada’s public safety minister, Vic Toews said. He is expected to serve the remainder of his sentence at the jail.
Khadr’s case has been controversial both in Canada and abroad given his age when he was captured, the nature of his detention and hearing, and the reluctance of Canadian officials to accept his return.
A US war crimes tribunal in 2010 sentenced Khadr, now 26, to 40 years in prison, although he was expected to serve just a few more years under a deal that included his admission he was an al-Qaeda conspirator who had murdered a US soldier.
Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges that included murdering army medic Christopher Speer in a 2002 firefight, conspiring with al-Qaeda to commit terrorist acts, making roadside bombs to target US troops in Afghanistan, spying on American military convoys and providing material support for terrorism.
As part of his plea deal, his sentence was limited to eight years. Under the deal, he became eligible to return to Canada last October.
The majority of Canadians supported the campaign to repatriate Khadr.
Khadr was the first person since the Second World War to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.
Canadian-born Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his Egyptian father, a senior al-Qaeda member who apprenticed the boy to a group of bomb makers who opened fire when US troops came to their compound.
Khadr was captured in the firefight, during which he was blinded in one eye and shot twice in the back.
The United States is thought to continue to hold more than 160 inmates at the Cuban facility.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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