UPDATE: Omar Khadr back in Canada
A decade after 15-year-old Omar Khadr was pulled near death from the rubble of a bombed-out compound in Afghanistan, the Canadian citizen set foot on Canadian soil early Saturday after an American military flight from the notorious prison in Guantanamo Bay.
The Toronto-born Khadr was immediately whisked off to a maximum-security facility in eastern Ontario following the five-hour flight to CFB Trenton.
``He's finding it hard to believe that this has finally happened,'' John Norris, one of Khadr's lawyers, told The Canadian Press just after speaking to his client by phone.
``His spirits are good. He is very, very happy to be home.''
Under a plea agreement, Khadr was eligible to return to Canada a year ago to serve out the remainder of an eight-year sentence for war crimes handed down by a much maligned military commission in October 2010.
But his politically-wrought transfer was delayed amid sniping between Canada and the U.S., while Public Safety Minister Vic Toews insisted he needed to satisfy himself that Khadr, who turned 26 earlier this month, would pose no threat to public safety.
In his three-page decision reached Friday allowing the transfer, Toews identified five areas of concern, including that Khadr has been away from Canadian society for so long and will require ``substantial management'' to re-integrate.
Toews also said Khadr idealizes his late father - a purported high-ranking al-Qaida financier - while his mother and older sister ``have openly applauded his crimes and terrorist activities,'' an apparent reference to interviews they gave in a TV documentary in 2004.
In October 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes committed as a 15 year old in Afghanistan.
The most serious offence was murder in violation of the rules of war - a crime not recognized outside of the military commissions - for the death of U.S. special forces soldier Sgt. Christopher Speer, who died from a grenade blast following a massive bombardment of the Afghan compound in July 2002.
(The Canadian Press)