Youngest Gitmo Prisoner Goes Free in Canada

Omar Khadr promises to prove he's a good person
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2015 1:41 AM CDT
Youngest Gitmo Prisoner Goes Free in Canada
Omar Khadr smiles as he speaks to the media outside his lawyer Dennis Edney's home in Edmonton, Alberta, yesterday.   (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Omar Khadr, the youngest Guantanamo Bay inmate and last Westerner to be released from the facility, is out on bail after spending nearly half of his 28 years locked up. A judge in Alberta decided there was no evidence there would be "irreparable harm" if Khadr, who was transferred to a Canadian prison in 2012, was released while he appeals his conviction, CNN reports. Standing outside his lawyer's house hours after his release, Khadr told the media, "Freedom is way better than I thought, and the Canadian public, so far, has been way better than I anticipated," the CBC reports. Khadr, who says he has renounced extremism, was just 15 when he was captured by American troops in Afghanistan in 2002.

"I would like to thank the Canadian public for trusting me, and giving me a chance. I will prove to them that I'm more than what they thought of me," Khadr said. "I'll prove to them that I'm a good person." The Canadian government spent years trying to prevent Khadr's return to Canada and is opposed to his release, the CBC reports. Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to throwing a grenade that killed a US Army medic and was sentenced to eight years plus time served, though rights groups argued he should have been treated as a child soldier. "We are disappointed with today's decision, and regret that a convicted terrorist has been allowed back into Canadian society without having served his full sentence," Canada's minister of public safety said in a statement. (More Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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