Where's Omar Khadr Going? Not Back to Canada Anytime Soon

Categories: News
As President Obama tries to keep his pledge to close Gitmo by next January, his biggest challenge -- as told in-depth in your New Times this very week -- is figuring out what to do with guys like Omar Khadr.
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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Khadr, the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay and the only Westerner, is both a symbol of the War on Terror's most egregious failures (he was captured at age 15 and probably tortured in Bagram and Gitmo) and its most lasting problems (if he wasn't already radical, Khadr's treatment over the past six years probably hasn't turned him into the world's biggest fan of the ol' U.S. of A.).

Obama's easiest move would have been returning Khadr to face trial or rehabilitation in his native Canada. But now it seems that option is off the table. Canada's conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, has apparently told Obama that he still views Khadr as a terrorist and a threat to Canada's security and he'd rather not have him shipped north of the border.

"What I have said on numerous occasions is that this individual is allegedly a murderer and stands accused of terrorism," Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told Toronto's Globe and Mail after meeting with Hilary Clinton.

Where that leaves Omar Khadr is unclear. Obama received word last week that Spain is now prepared to accept some Gitmo prisoners, but it might be more likely Khadr will return to the States to face charges or a new prison term.

Either way, Khadr's case isn't getting any easier for Obama. The young man's defense lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, added new urgency to the problem last week when he claimed he's been barred from returning to Gitmo because of a dispute with his commander.

"This action effectively denies Omar the right to counsel and constitutes a serious violation of attorney ethics rules," Kuebler said in a release.

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