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Guantanamo’s youngest prisoner sent home

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2012-09-30

The youngest prisoner and last Westerner held at the Guantanamo military prison was released on Saturday 11 years after his capture in Afghanistan at age 15. Omar Khadr will serve the rest of his jail sentence in his native Canada.

Guantanamo’s last Western and youngest detainee was returned to Canada on Saturday to serve the rest of his sentence in an Ontario prison. Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said that 26-year-old Omar Khadr arrived at a military base on a US government plane early Saturday and was transferred to Millhaven maximum security prison in Bath, Ontario.

Khadr was detained at the age of 15 in 2002 after a grenade he threw during battle killed American soldier Christopher Speer. In 2010 a US war crimes tribunal sentenced Khadr to 40 years in prison for charges that included murdering Sgt. Speer, but his plea agreement capped his sentence at eight years and made eligible his return to Canada.

Khadr pleaded guilty to all five charges against him, including conspiring with al Qaeda to commit terrorist acts, making roadside bombs to target US troops in Afghanistan, spying on American military convoys and providing material support for terrorism. He was the first person since World War Two to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.

The Toronto native was taken to Afghanistan by his father, a senior al Qaeda member, and apprenticed to a group of bomb-makers who opened fire when US troops came to their compound near the city of Khost. Khadr was captured in the battle, during which he was blinded in one eye and shot twice in the back.

Date created : 2012-09-29

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