Omar Khadr is a Canadian and former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was accused of killing a U.S. Army Sergeant in Afghanistan with a grenade when he was 15-years-old. After spending several years in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. military commission imposed an eight-year sentence on him in 2010. Today on Monday, March 25, an Alberta judge ruled that Omar Khadr's war crime sentence has expired and he is now a free man.
Alberta Chief Justice Mary Moreau ruled today in court that Khadr had completed his sentence in Canada and was now free to go, meaning he could travel within or outside the country, apply for a passport and more.
Khadr's eight-year sentence, which was imposed upon him back in 2010, would have been completed by him last fall in October 2018 had Khadr remained in prison in Canada. However, he was released on bail back in 2015 and has been living in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta ever since.
The Alberta judge ruled today that she would count the time that he has spent released on bail towards his eight-year sentence and he is now allowed to walk freely without his previous restrictions.
Omar Khadr can now speak to his sister, apply for a passport. 'He's been on perfect behaviour since his release,' says his lawyer. 'I'm feeling like it's the end of a pretty long journey.' pic.twitter.com/1qeTovo5WY— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) March 25, 2019
After the decision was announced, Khadr expressed outside the courtroom that he was satisfied with the ruling. "I think it's been a while but I'm happy it's here, and right now I'm going to just try to focus on recovering and not worrying about having to go back to prison, or, you know, just struggling," Khadr told CBC News.
"He’s been an upstanding citizen since being released," said Khadr's lawyer, Nate Whitling, according to The National Post. "There’s just nothing negative to say about Mr. Khadr."
Although Khadr has now been released in Canada, he is still in the process of appealing his war crime convictions in the U.S., which allege that he murdered Christopher Speer, an American special forces soldier, in Afghanistan by throwing a grenade.
He previously pleaded guilty to the incident but later retracted his statement, saying it was not true and that he only claimed responsibility for the murder because he thought it would allow him his return to Canada.
He ended up suing the Canadian government and said that they violated his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The federal government settled the lawsuit for $10.5 million and also issued an apology to Khadr.
Khadr was captured by the U.S. back in 2002 when he was 15-years-old and spent a number of years under their custody at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Later on, he ended up being transferred to Canada to serve his sentence.
His eight-year sentence was imposed in 2010, but Khadr was released on bail in 2015 and he has resided in Alberta ever since. His case has been controversial and many Canadians are divided over Khadr's release.