Fri Oct 20, 2017 | 12:50
Canada agrees to repatriate Khadr
Tue, 02 Nov 2010 06:06:20 GMT
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Canada's Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Canada has agreed to allow the repatriation of Toronto-born Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr after he finishes a year of incarceration in the United States.

“The American government agreed that Omar Khadr return to Canada and we will implement the agreement between Mr Khadr and the US government,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told the country's parliament on Monday.

Ottawa's decision comes a day after a US military panel sentenced Khadr to 40 years in prison. However, the 24-year-old will only serve up to eight years behind bars under a plea bargain.

Last week, Khadr agreed to plead guilty to US military charges of murder in violation of the laws of war, providing material assistance to a terrorist organization, and espionage, in exchange for a sentence of eight years that will see him freed in 2018.

A plea bargain is a legal strategy often employed by US government prosecutors to force a guilty plea on defendants in controversial cases where the evidence against them are either lacking or not convincing. In such cases, defendants are coerced into admitting to government charges in exchange for a milder punishment, or face the likelihood of a much harsher sentence.

The US Judiciary considers the use of the strategy very effective in claiming legal victory and legitimacy in convicting many defendants that insist on their innocence. US media and rights groups have reported on a number of legal cases in which the plea bargain has been abused.

Part of the agreement was that he would be transferred to Canada to complete his incarceration after he finishes a year in US custody.

Khadr has already spent more than eight years in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

He was arrested by the US military in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was only 15 years old.

The United Nations, Amnesty International, and other human rights groups have condemned Khadr's continued detention and called on the US government to consider his status as someone who was originally detained as a child soldier and release him immediately.

Moreover, they have rigorously complained that much of Khadr's confessions were rendered under torture and duress.

Khadr is the third Guantanamo detainee to plead guilty and the fifth to face court proceedings before military commissions, which are George W. Bush-era war tribunals, supposedly reformed and reinstated by US President Barack Obama.

Khadr is the last citizen of a Western country held prisoner at the Guantanamo facility.

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