Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was before being transferred to a prison in the province of Alberta in 2012, has been granted bail and could be released early next month while he appeals against his murder conviction by a US military tribunal.
Khadr, now 28, was captured in when he was 15. He pleaded guilty to killing a US soldier and has been incarcerated since 2002. He will be released from a prison near Innisfail, Alberta, on 5 May, when a judge will set the conditions of his release, according to his lawyer, Dennis Edney.
“I hoped that justice would prevail, and it did,” Edney said. “We’ll have a date with a judge in coming weeks and we’ll talk about conditions of release.”
Edney said crown prosecutors have not yet said if they plan to appeal against Khadr’s release, but the Canadian government has consistently opposed any effort to free the onetime child soldier.
The Canadian supreme court ruled in 2010 that breached Khadr’s rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba in 2003 and 2004 and sharing the results with the United States.
Khadr was the first person since the second world war to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile. He was the youngest prisoner still at Guantánamo, but younger boys had previously been held there.
Canadian-born Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, a senior al-Qaida member who apprenticed the boy to a group of bombmakers who opened fire when US troops came to their compound. Khadr was captured in the gun battle, during which he was blinded in one eye and shot twice in the back.
His sentence was to expire in October 2018.