I am certain that you have probably heard/read the name Omar Khadr at least once. Whether it was on the radio, television or maybe his name was part of a headline in a newspaper, whatever it maybe the fact is Omar Khadr’s name is well-known. Although he gets so much attention, I feel as if many don’t know his entire story but rather know only some snippets and words that are used to describe him such as: terrorist, fundamentalist, member of Al-Qaida and murderer. But what we need to see more of is this: Omar Khadr: child soldier, juvenile, tortured, youngest Westerner detainee in Guantanamo bay. Did I mention child soldier yet?
Omar Khadr was fifteen when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002. He was the sole survivor of a four hour long and brutal firefight between suspected Al-Qaida members and the American troops in a compound in Afghanistan. At this time Omar was a juvenile who was seriously injured because he had been shot two times in the back and he was half blind due to the shrapnel. Due to his age he was a child and should have been treated as a child soldier thus, meaning that he should have undergone a different judicial process. However, he was tortured in an Afghan prison and then transported to the notorious Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba. Omar was a Canadian citizen and therefore should have been repatriated to Canada but Canada refused to take back their lawful citizen. Countless other times they refused to intervene in his case. Moreover, not only did they refuse to repatriate Khadr, in 2003 they sent Canadian authorities to interrogate and question the 16 years old Omar. Omar’s confession was extracted through various torture techniques. Omar Khadr is now 24 years old, he has been in prison since he was 15 years old so that’s nine years behind bars. Omar is called, ‘Guantanamo’s child’ because he has spent most of his life there.
Recently on October 13, 2010 Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to the charges against him: murdering an American soldier, terrorism, conspiracy and spying. This was part of a plea deal, Omar Khadr has been given an eight years sentence from which one year he must serve in a maximum security US prison and then he will be repatriated to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence of seven years. So Khadr, pleaded guilty in exchange for repatriation to Canada. There have been many other plea deals offered to Khadr in the past but he refused them. I personally think that the US government wanted to mend their broken name internationally and hide the infamous Khadr case. Through the plea deal they hope to clear the stain which is upon their name for neglecting human rights and incarcerating a child soldier. Thus, the plea deal was conjured and that was the only way they could solve the Khadr problem and so this was the only way Khadr would leave Guantanamo Bay.
So is there actually justice?
I mean wasn’t the case flawed from the start?
A child soldier in prison for nine years, isn’t that messed up?
A military tribunal rather than a federal one?
The confessions used in the trial were those extracted from him after he had been tortured?
So was justice actually ever going to come out of a process that was flawed,
And full of hatred from the start?
Omar’s only option was to plead guilty because the whole process was a sham and a disgrace to human rights, and it was the only way he would be repatriated to his home land: Canada.
And so there was no other way for Omar to leave Guantanamo.
In his trial Omar Khadr said, “Nelson Mandela taught that, you won’t gain anything from hate. Love and forgiveness are more constructive; they will bring people together and solve lots of problems” (Khadr). Now, he doesn’t seem like a fanatic to me but someone misunderstood. Omar seems like a person who has been tortured, abused and belittled by many people in his young life. He has surpassed incalculable amount of pain, torture and hatred. Something vital to remember is that Omar Khadr was a child when he was locked up and tormented but now he is a young man who probably like most of us had dreams, hope and aspirations so Omar Khadr, stay strong bro.