OTTAWA: Canada on Monday said it would allow the repatriation of Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr, who must serve eight years in jail after pleading guilty to killing a US soldier in Afghanistan.
“The government of the United States has accepted that Omar Khadr return to Canada and we will carry out the (plea) agreement between Mr Khadr and the US government,” Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told parliament.
A US military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba sentenced Khadr to 40 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to throwing a grenade that killed a US sergeant in Afghanistan in 2002.
The sentence however was largely symbolic because under a plea agreement, Khadr will only serve up to eight years behind bars and after one year in Guantanamo can seek to be transferred to Canada to serve the remaining seven years.
Once in Canada, Khadr, who is now 24 but was 15 years old at the time of the crime, would also be eligible to apply for full parole following the completion of one-third of his sentence.
Ottawa steadfastly refused to seek Khadr's repatriation and declined to comment on his case while the charges against him were pending.
But in a diplomatic note made public Sunday, Ottawa said it is “inclined to favourably consider Mr Khadr's application to be transferred to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence.”
It will be up to an independent parole board to then determine whether to release him before the end of his sentence.