Released Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr on his way to Canada
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Released Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr on his way to Canada

Ottawa : Canada | Sep 29, 2012 at 4:27 AM PDT
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Sister of Guantanamo inmate condemns detention - 13 Nov 09

Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr is on his way back to Canada. He left Guantanamo Bay at 4:30 am ET. He is being transported by a military aircraft and will presumeably land at a military base in Canada.

Khadr, under a plea deal, was convicted of killing American Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer. The plea deal assured that he could serve the remainder of his eight year sentence in Canada, after completing the first year in Guantanamo. Under Canada's laws, Khadr could make parole as early as next year.

The return of Khadr has divided Canadians and he issue has become a very emotional one.

Khadr was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002. Since he was 15 at the time, he has been described as a boy soldier by some, but one can argue about the definition of boy soldier.

Khadr is the only Guantanamo prisoner that did not boycot the military trial tribunals and his proponents say that he has been reformed and is ready to carry on with his life. Those opposed to his return to Canada, say that his time in Guantanamo has only hardened him and fear what he may do after his release.

Although Khadr was born in Toronto, Canada, he spend the majority of his young life moving back and forth between Canada and Pakistan. His father was an Egyptian Canadian and the family had ties with Osama Bin Laden, living in his compound for some time. His mother also wished to raise her family outside Canada due to her animosity toward Western influences. Khadr attended school in Peshawar.

His release and return to Canada will start a fierce debate in Canada. Most of it driven by his background and public statements made by his mother and sister on Canadian television. The Harper government, however, was careful in obtaining as much information on Khadr as possible prior to agreeing to his return.

Update: Omar Khadr has landed at Canadian Forces Base Trenton at 9am ET. He has been taken to Millhaven Prison near Kingston, Ontario, according to a Huffinton Post Canada tweet.

Vic Toews, Canada`s Public Safety Minister, confirmed that Omar Khadr has arrived in Canada at 7:40 am ET and was taken to the Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont., to serve the balance of his sentence for war crimes.

"Omar Khadr is a known supporter of the al-Qaeda terrorist network and a convicted terrorist. I am satisfied the Correctional Service of Canada can administer Omar Khadr’s sentence in a manner which recognizes the serious nature of the crimes that he has committed and ensure the safety of Canadians is protected during incarceration.

Any decisions related to his future will be determined by the independent Parole Board of Canada in accordance with Canadian law.," Toews said.

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Omar Khadr is on his way back to Canada this morning (29 Sep )
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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