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Omar Khadr awaiting transfer to Bowden


A former prisoner in the U.S.’s infamous Guantanamo prison is expected to be sent to the medium-security Bowden Institution.

Canadian Omar Khadr, 27, is behind bars in Edmonton’s maximum-security penitentiary, where he has been since May 2013 after being transferred from Ontario’s Millhaven penitentiary west of Kingston.

Khadr was transferred to Canada from the U.S. in a 2012 plea bargain.

Last month, the warden in Edmonton reclassified Khadr as a medium-security risk, which made him eligible for transfer to Bowden.

Dennis Edney, Khadr’s lawyer for a decade, said, “It’s my understanding he’ll be moving there at some point in time.”

There has been no indication of when, he said. “There’s some health issues going on and that’s got to be dealt with first.”

Edney was asked if Khadr was looking forward to leaving the Edmonton prison, known as the Max and with a reputation as a tough place to serve time.

“The answer to that is he’s looking forward to getting out into the community. That’s what he’s looking forward to and that’s what we believe he’s entitled to.

“That’s why we continue to prosecute his case in various courts of law.”

In 2002, a then-15-year-old Khadr was taken prisoner by the U.S. military after a firefight in Afghanistan in which Special Forces soldier Christopher Speer was killed. Khadr was accused of throwing the grenade that killed Speer.

Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to five war crimes before a U.S. military commission. He pleaded guilty to murder “in violation of the laws of war,” attempted murder, spying, conspiracy and giving material aid to terrorism.

Khadr, who was born in Toronto, was sentenced to eight years.

As part of a $20-million lawsuit launched last year against the federal government for violating his rights, Khadr says he agreed to the plea bargain with the military commission because it was the only way to get out of Guantanamo.

Correctional Service Canada does not confirm prisoner moves for privacy reasons, said spokesman Jeff Campbell.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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