Omar Khadr: A Journey To be Understood

Should he have ever been in Guantanamo?

On September 29 the Toronto Star reported that in a statement that called Khadr’s case “one of the ugliest chapters in the decade-long history of Guantanamo” legal director Baher Azmy wrote

Khadr never should have been brought to Guantanamo. He was a child of 15 at the time he was captured and his subsequent detention and prosecution for purported war crimes was unlawful, as was his torture by U.S. officials

Retired U.S Brig.-Gen Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist met with Khadr.  The Edmonton Journal (October 2013) reported that Xenakis wrote in the Washington Post “he’s absolutely not political. His Muslim faith is important to him, but it is a faith not a political ideology”, and “he’s not a violent man; he’s civil, thoughtful and not a danger to society.”

In an interview with Michael Welner published in Maclean’s in 2012 Khadr openly said Muslims aren’t being good Muslims; saying

there’s nobody that—in the Islamic history—there is nobody who had a better relationship with the Jews and Christians than the Prophet or with, you know, un-Muslim people . . . We are supposed to be like him, but people are not like him.

He then condemned 9/11, saying “It was a tragedy. … The killing of innocents is tragic … no innocent person deserves to die or be killed … human soul is sacred and each that must be protected and not abused.

He also says he was not given a Koran in his cell when he was being flown from Bagram, Afghanistan, to Guantanamo Bay in October 2002

On October 2010 CBC reported that Khadr apologized to Sgt. Speer’s family, saying

“I’m really, really sorry for the pain I caused you and your family … I wish I could do something that would take away your pain.”

On December 3, 2013, CBC reported that Khadr was not receiving medical treatment at Millhaven Institution in Canada.

The Toronto Sun (2013) reported that Canadian Federal Liberal Leader, Justin Trudeau said “Omar Khadr needs to be treated the way we treat Canadians according to the rules that exist, according to the laws and principles that govern,” adding that he should be treated like “any Canadian who as been incarcerated outside of the country

He was eligible for day parole in July but hasn’t applied; his sentence ends in October 2018.

Today Omar Khadr is 27-year-old whose name is still unknown to many Canadians but is one that brings pity, fear, and confusion to those who do.

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