Convicted war criminal Omar Khadr back in Canada
TORONTO - Omar Khadr is back in Canada after spending nearly a decade in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has confirmed that Khadr landed Saturday at 7:40 a.m. ET at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont.
The minister says the 26-year-old Toronto-born man will be transferred to the Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security prison in Kingston, Ont.
"Omar Khadr is a known supporter of the al-Qaida terrorist network and a convicted terrorist," said Toews in a brief statement from Winnipeg.
The minister said the decision for the transfer was made earlier this week.
"Omar Khadr was born in Canada and is a Canadian citizen. As a Canadian citizen, he has a right to enter Canada after the completion of his sentence," he said.
Toews said Khadr will now be the responsibility of Corrections Canada, and any decisions about parole will be made by the Parole Board of Canada.
"I am satisfied the Correctional Service of Canada can administer Omar Khadr’s sentence in a manner which recognizes the serious nature of the crimes that he has committed and ensure the safety of Canadians is protected during incarceration," he said.
In October 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes, including the killing of U.S. army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer during a gunfight in Afghanistan.
He also admitted to providing material support for terrorism, attempted murder in violation of the law of war and conspiracy and spying.
Khadr, Canada's only convicted war criminal, has been eligible to return to Canada for nearly a year under a special plea bargain deal but his return had been marred by delay.
Canadian officials had argued that they wanted to assess Khadr's potential safety risk before he was returned.
Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured — badly wounded and almost blind — in the rubble of a bombed out compound in Afghanistan in July 2002.
He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay a few months later and had been held there ever since.
Khadr is the son of Ahmed Said Khadr, an Egyptian-born Canadian with ties to al-Qaida and was the last westerner to be held at the U.S. military prison.