Judge Ends Omar Khadr’s Sentence

An Alberta judge has put an end to war crimes for former Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr.

M . Khadr was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison, but the clock stopped in 2015 when he was released on bail pending appeal of his military conviction in the United States. Otherwise, his eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October.

The Chief Justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Mary Moreau, concludes that the Youth Criminal Justice Act gives judges some latitude to consider that the conditions for the bail can be taken into account in the overall sentence. With this in mind, she ruled that Omar Khadr had served all of his eight-year prison sentence, even though he had been on bail for part of that period.

The Supreme Court of Canada had already ruled that for acts committed in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old, Mr. Khadr should be sentenced to young offenders.

Mr. Khadr’s lawyer, Nathan Whitling, had argued in court in Edmonton that his client had already spent more than seven years in prison or on bail – 41 months in custody and 45 months on bail. The Crown, for its part, recommended that Mr. Khadr serve the rest of his sentence in the community.

Mr. Whitling argued that the US sentencing process had not progressed at all and that it would be unfair to charge his client for these delays. He also recalled that the military commission that sentenced Mr. Khadr was widely discredited by legal experts.

Omar Khadr has been detained for years at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was accused of throwing a grenade that killed Special Forces soldier Christopher Speer during the assault on the US military in a fortified hangout in Afghanistan in 2001.

Since his release on bail, Mr. Khadr has led an uneventful life in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. The court relaxed some of its original bail conditions, but several remained in place.

Thus, Mr. Khadr could not obtain a Canadian passport and was forbidden to communicate without a chaperone with his sister, who lives in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. He was also required to inform his supervisor of a bond before leaving Alberta.

Judge Moreau said Monday that all conditions were now lifted.

Mr. Khadr’s case has sparked a debate in Canada that combines terrorism, human rights and the rule of law, since it was revealed in 2017 that the federal government had settled amicably for damages in the amount $ 10.5 million. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that Mr. Khadr’s constitutional rights had been violated at Guantanamo and that Canadian officials had contributed to this violation.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer reiterated Monday morning that “if Mr. Khadr really wants to take responsibility for his crimes, he will have to give all the money he has received from the Government of Canada to the families of his family. victims”.

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