Canadian Child Soldier Applies To Leave Gitmo

Omar Khadr was only 9 when his father moved his family from Canada to Afghanistan.

He was 15 when he threw a grenade in a firefight that killed a US soldier.  He was badly injured in the firefight and was immediately taken in to custody and reportedly tortured for information.

And he was 24 when he finally saw a trial, after living in the US Prison at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. Eventually, Khadr became the only foreign national left in Gitmo; every other country repatriated its citizens from the Cuban prison outside US legal jurisdiction. All except Canada, who decided that their inmate, this child soldier, could rot.

Khadr faced that trial in 2010, the first child soldier to do so since the Second World War. Under a plea agreement, Khadr pleaded guilty to throwing that grenade. Leaving aside the fact that nobody else has been prosecuted in this war, and that Khadr was a legal target but did not apparently have the legal right to fight back, Khadr agreed to an 8 year sentence. Under the terms of the plea deal, Khadr also can not profit from telling his story, nor can he ever travel to or over the USA again.

Also under that plea agreement (also agreed to by the Canadian government), Khadr was free to move to a Canadian prison after 1 year of his sentence. Khadr’s formal application to return to Canada is now on Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ desk.  But the Harper government is not showing any inclination to deal with this expeditiously. They have not been keen to bring the former child soldier home for the last 10 years, and even now are in no rush to make any decisions – despite the US Government offering to expedite the file and to fly Khadr to Canada on his own dime.They want Khadr gone for their own reasons.

Khadr’s image in Canada is not a good one. His family is reviled, and his story has been told by others with their own agendas for too long, painting him as a rabid and unreformable Jihadist who hates Canada and hates Freedom. But the fact remains: He was a child soldier, drafted before he had a will to have into a war he was told he needed to fight. It will be interesting to see how the story changes once Khadr is on Canadian soil and is able to speak for himself.

When that will be is still unknown. But the day is now unavoidable for the Harper government.


Related Stories:

Child To Be Tried At Gitmo

Ten Years of Guantanamo: What Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Knew

No Childhood for Child Soldiers

Zaynab Khadr on Wikipedia.


Teddie S.
Teddie S.4 years ago

I don't understand the treatment of this young man. Isn't he a Canadian?
Was it his fault that his parents took him back to their country, probably against his wishes, he was drafted, and forced to fight.
I would not be surprised to hear he had been tortured to confess, he agreed to his sentence and now should be brought home to Canada.
If his family is so awful, I know nothing about them, why haven't they been deported?
Totally confused.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 4 years ago

Donegal, I have nothing against the Khadr family because of their racial background but strictly because his entire family has been involved in terrorist activities and continue to run down the nation that provides health, education and other benefits for them. His parents were not born here and should have been refused immigration status in the first place. They have done nothing for the country except use our resources and then spit upon us. You should hear some of the interviews his sister and mother have given. Absolutely shocking! Remember when immigrants actually contributed and were grateful? Not them.
I did say Omar was a victim but I STILL don't trust him or his family. We're stuck with these creeps and they're laughing at us out one side of their mouths and disparaging us out of the other. If you could hear an interview with his mother and sister, believe me, you would be shocked!

Donegal Higgins
Past Member 4 years ago

@Linda: Saying that at age 15 he should have known to leave is like blaming victims of domestic abuse for not leaving. I would wager that even if he had managed to avoid indoctrination he wouldn't have felt at all confident about escaping nor is it likely that in Afghanistan that he would have had the means himself or assistance from others to do so.

Why does this idea of "go back to ___" seem only to come up when discussing nonwhites? In the US we have many people who talk about how much they hate this country (many if not most are white, an unfortunate number of whom manage to get TV or radio airtime) and yet I don't hear anyone saying we should deport them to wherever their ancestors came from. I'm guessing that there are similar people in Canada. You can talk about deporting his immigrant family members if you have legal justification, but like it or not he is a Canadian citizen and as entitled to free speech as anyone else. He's served for his past crimes and should only be subject to further punishment of he is found guilty of another. That's how criminal justice is supposed to function.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 4 years ago

Abdul, you are correct. The west should have stayed out of all the foreign countires where they have interfered. Omar was a victim of indoctrination and of torture. Regardless, I don't want him in Canada living off our taxpayers because he has no allegiance to our conutry whatsoever and his family uses public benefits to pay for fighters against western soldiers. Our soldiers shouldn't be in Afghanistan and his family shouldn't be in Canada. Everybody stay where their loyalties lie and quit interfering. That would solve everybody's problems.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.4 years ago

Bob M. That's pretty lame, don't like the message, insult the messenger....

bob m.
bob m.4 years ago

get some rest sound confused.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.4 years ago

Bob M Idiot? who, you or Harper?

bob m.
bob m.4 years ago


Gee Pat; I don't think I once mentioned Harper;.. talk about an idiot.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A.4 years ago


The western leaders like to be re elected even if it means pleasing the extremists in their countries. If the body bags come back then that is what they refer to as a collateral damage and it is some one else's children and not theirs.
The service people do the dirty work for politicians and rulers while they can enjoy themselves and accumulate wealth in the comfort of their palaces and ranches.

I wish the general public see a little behind the thin veil they put on.

Christine C.
Christine C.4 years ago