Locked away at Guantánamo Bay for the past decade, Omar Khadr is closer than ever to coming home. But one final obstacle appears to be blocking his return to Canada: a secret, videotaped interview he gave to an American psychiatrist two years ago.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews—who will ultimately decide whether Khadr can transfer to a Canadian prison—recently asked the Pentagon to hand over a copy of the 2010 interview (among other pieces of evidence), hoping it could shed some light on the “real” Omar Khadr. The tape was delivered to Ottawa earlier this month, and although many Canadians are demanding to see it, the contents have remained a secret.
Maclean’s has viewed a transcript of this pivotal videotape and, in a world exclusive, takes readers inside the seven-hour interview. It’s a chilling glimpse into the two faces of Omar Khadr: the tearful child soldier who dreams of coming back to Toronto and the remorseless murderer who, even now, refuses to admit that his notorious father was a senior al-Qaeda terrorist. “I think he was just a normal dad,” he said. “He was just trying to raise his children the right way.”
At one point during the interview, Khadr is asked what he misses most about his former life, which famously ended, at age 15, when he was shot and captured by U.S. troops during a deadly firefight in Afghanistan. “I miss being trusted,” said Khadr, now 26. “Nobody trusts me, and they don’t trust me because of something I didn’t do or I was made to do. I was never given a chance.”
Asked about Canada, he replied: “It’s a country I can call home.”
To read more of senior writer Michael Friscolanti’s exclusive story, pick up this week’s issue of Maclean’s, on newsstands now.