Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Omar Khadr Deserves Chance to Prove Worth

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Omar Khadr Deserves Chance to Prove Worth

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Omar Khadr deserves chance to prove worth


An editorial from the Charlottetown Guardian, published May 29:

Omar Khadr is asking Canadians to give him a chance to prove he is worthy of their trust and that he isn't the dangerous, deranged terrorist he has been depicted to be.

And, he has been asking for a chance to prove his worth with a bright smile on his face and a warm twinkle in his eye.

Earlier this month, the public finally got to see the 28-year-old in the flesh, and it was an eye-opener.

Previous images of Mr. Khadr were old photographs of him as a teenager or illustrations depicting a surly adult in the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison complete with a full beard.

Mr. Khadr got his first taste of freedom in almost 13 years when an Alberta judge rejected a last-ditch attempt by the federal government to block his release. Earlier, an Alberta court granted his bid for bail while he appeals his war-crimes conviction.

Mr. Khadr has been making headlines in Canada since 2002. The Americans captured him in a grievously wounded state in Afghanistan in July 2002, when he was just 15 years old. After some time in Afghanistan hospitals and prisons, he was sent to Guantanamo Bay where it is alleged he was tortured.

Mr. Khadr pleaded guilty in October 2010 before a widely discredited military commission to five war crimes -- including murder in the death of a U.S. special forces soldier. He is said to have tossed a hand grenade during a firefight.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the commission handed him a further eight-year sentence. He later said he had only pleaded guilty to get out of the notorious prison.

Dubbed "Guantanamo's Child," he was the youngest inmate and lone westerner left in the naval prison at the time.

He remains the only person convicted of murder for the battlefield death of an American soldier in Afghanistan. …

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