Omar Khadr returns to Canada today

Omar Khadr is returning to Canada Saturday [today], after the 26-year-old was flown from the U.S. naval base at Guanatanamo Bay, Cuba overnight on a plane bound for a Canadian Forces base in eastern Ontario.

CTV News has learned that Khadr is expected to land at CFB Trenton sometime Saturday.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has scheduled a press conference in Winnipeg regarding Khadr’s return for 8:30 CT.

In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes charges, including murder, in connection to the death of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer.

Khadr pleaded guilty to throwing a grenade during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan that killed Speer, as well as planting roadside bombs and receiving weapons training from al Qaeda.

In exchange for pleading guilty, he received a sentence of eight years. Under the terms of his agreement, he was eligible to return to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence after one year.

<<< That’s a CTV News post

Here’s something from Human Rights Watch >>>

Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was just 15 when he was captured and seriously injured in a firefight in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002. He pleaded guilty on October, 25, 2010, to murder and attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism, and spying, and was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment.

The US accused Khadr of throwing a grenade that killed US Army Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer and injured two others. He was charged with murder and attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.

In spite of Khadr’s young age at the time of his capture, the United States refused to apply universally recognized standards of juvenile justice in his case, or even to acknowledge Khadr’s status as a juvenile. Both US and international law allow for detention of juveniles only as a last resort, require juveniles to be provided educational opportunities and housed separately from adults, and mandate a prompt determination of all cases involving children. Yet Khadr has been incarcerated with adults, reportedly subjected to abusive interrogations, and not provided with any educational opportunities (unlike other children at Guantanamo). In addition, he was detained for more than two years before he was provided with access to an attorney, and for more than three years before he was charged. He was initially charged in the first round of military commissions, which were ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court. Another two years passed before he was re-charged before the current military commissions.

Khadr’s military commission trial began in August but was delayed when his military lawyer, US Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, collapsed in court while cross-examining a witness. On October 25, the date the trial resumed, Khadr accepted a plea deal. Under the deal, he will serve eight years in custody, one in Guantanamo and the remainder in Canada. Despite the plea, the rules governing military commissions required that a sentencing hearing take place, without the jury being informed of the plea deal. The sentence chosen by the jury, however, would only have been imposed if it was less than the eight years agreed to under the deal. During the sentencing hearing, which began on October 26, the jury heard only limited evidence about Khadr’s ill-treatment during the eight years he had been confined. In the end, the jury returned a sentence of 40 years, unaware that this long sentence would not actually be imposed.

And here’s a video of a Khadr’s CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) interrogation released by his defense team.

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

Update:  “A Canadian government source told the Toronto Star in an interview earlier this year that the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines’ maximum-security facility, near Montreal, was a strong possibility  for Khadr’s  incarceration, it says, adding,

“The prison’s Special Handling Unit, nicknamed “the SHU,” houses the majority of Canada’s prisoners convicted of terrorism offences.

Under Canada law, Khadr will now be eligible to apply for parole by next summer, says the story.

“In 2008, Khadr’s lawyers proposed a rehabilitation plan that included psychiatric treatment at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, religious counselling by a local imam and a tiered integration program that would see Khadr closely monitored for as long as four years.”

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