Omar Khadr back in Canada
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Khadr, 26, left the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo early Saturday and arrived at Canadian Forces Base Trenton before being transferred 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,” Toews said, reading a brief statement.
“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,” Towes said.
Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg told CBC News “it had become clear the repatriation was about to happen.”
Rosenberg said Khadr recently got a consular “welfare” visit from a Canadian diplomatic official in advance of his return.
Under a plea deal with prosecutors in October 2010, Khadr admitted to being responsible for the death of American Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer.
In exchange for that plea, he was promised he would be transferred to Canada to serve out the rest of his sentence.
He agreed to a sentence of eight years, with no credit for time served, with the first year spent in U.S. custody.
Now that he’s home, he can apply for parole next year under Canadian law.
Khadr was 15 when he was found badly injured in the rubble of a bombed-out compound near Khost, Afghanistan. He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay a few months later, accused of throwing the grenade that killed Speer.
“I am very satisfied, even if [the repatriation] is done in the dead of night and on a weekend to avoid media attention,” said Senator Romeo Dallaire, who recently wrote a book about the use of child soldiers.
Khadr was born in Toronto but spent much of his childhood in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A year after his capture, his father and al-Qaeda financier, Ahmed Khadr, was killed in a military ambush in Pakistan.