15 December 2016

Omar Khadr Was Released On Bail Last Year

In 2007, I recounted the plight of Omar Khadr, a Guantanamo detainee who was fifteen when he ended up in the military prison charged with offenses taking place as early as when he was ten years old, who had been detained for five years at the time. 

He pleaded guilty to war crimes before a U.S. military tribunal in October of 2010. Five years later, in 2012, after ten years at Gitmo, he was transferred to a Canadian prison. He was released on bail pending an appeal in the U.S. Courts in May of 2015. Per Wikipedia, linked above:
He was the youngest prisoner and last Western citizen to be held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay. He accepted an eight-year sentence, not including time served, with the possibility of a transfer to Canada after at least one year to serve the remainder of the sentence. Khadr was the first person since World War II to be prosecuted in a military commission for war crimes committed while still a minor. His conviction and sentence were widely denounced by civil rights groups and various newspaper editorials. His prosecution and imprisonment was condemned by the United Nations, which has taken up the issue of child soldiers. 
On September 29, 2012, Khadr was repatriated to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canadian custody. He was initially assigned to a maximum-security prison but moved to a medium-security prison in 2014. Khadr was released on bail in May 2015 (pending an appeal of his U.S. conviction) after the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to block his release as had been requested by the Canadian government. 
In 2013, Khadr filed a C$20,000,000 amended civil suit against the government of Canada for conspiring with the U.S. in abusing his rights. He said he had signed the plea agreement because he believed it was the only way he could gain transfer from Guantanamo, and claimed that he had no memory of the firefight in which he was wounded. Khadr's lawyers successfully challenged his incarceration in Canada as an adult offender. On May 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the federal government's position, ruling that Khadr had clearly been sentenced by the U.S. military tribunal as a minor. If he loses his appeal of the US conviction, underway in a separate action, he would serve any remaining time in a provincial facility rather than in a federal penitentiary.
He has served 4 years and 7 months of his eight year sentence, and apparently receives no credit for the eight years of time served he had at the time.

Sixteen years in prison for being a child soldier is absurd.

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