Omar Khadr is leaving Guantanamo Bay - Macleans.ca

Omar Khadr is leaving Guantanamo Bay

Canadian terror suspect will stand trial on American soil

by

Omar Khadr is one step closer to coming home—though not the step his lawyers were hoping for. At a news conference this morning, the White House announced that the 23-year-old Toronto native will be transferred to an American jail cell, along with nine other high-profile inmates currently locked away at the U.S. prison camp. Exactly when he will be moved is unclear, but the announcement means Khadr’s seven-year stint at the world’s most infamous prison is about to end. His freedom, though, is still far off. Accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. army medic on the battlefields of Afghanistan, Khadr has been ordered to stand trial for war crimes in front of a military commission. A date for the trial has not yet been set. Khadr was just 15 years old when he was shot and captured by U.S. troops in July 2002, and his lawyers have spent years arguing he was a child soldier at the time, and therefore not responsible for his actions. Newly-released photographs also suggest the teenager was badly wounded and buried in rubble when he is alleged to have tossed the fatal grenade—raising doubts about his guilt. Barry Coburn, one of Khadr’s lawyers, says he is “shocked” that Barack Obama remains committed to prosecution. “We thought that the incoming Obama administration signaled a new day with respect to these cases—a new respect for civil liberties, an abhorrence of torture, a respect for the time-honoured legal procedures and protections that are mandated by the constitution and enforced by the federal courts.” The announcement comes on the same day the Supreme Court of Canada is hearing arguments about whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper should be ordered to ask the U.S. to repatriate Khadr to Canada.

CBC News

Maclean’s

Filed under: