Last Western Gitmo Detainee Returns to Canada

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 29 2012 1:52 PM

Last Western Guantanamo Detainee Finally Transferred to Native Canada

A sketch depicting Omar Khadr at a 2010 hearing in the Guantanamo courthouse

Photo by JANET HAMLIN/AFP/Getty Images

Guantanamo’s youngest detainee was transferred back to his native Canada early Saturday morning, effectively ending one of the most controversial detentions at the Pentagon’s camp in Cuba. Omar Khadr, 26, was just 15 when he was captured near death in war-torn Afghanistan in 2002. In addition to being the youngest detainee, Khadr was also the last Western captive, points out the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg. Now the Pentagon is holding 166 detainees at Guantanamo.

Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan and was then eligible to return to Canada last October under terms of a plea deal, reports the Associated Press. Upon landing in Canada, Khadr was taken to an assessment unit at a prison in Bath, Ontario, a customary practice for those entering Canada’s penitentiary system, reports the Toronto Star. Khadr should be eligible for parole as early as spring of next year.

Khadr’s detention was one of the most famous and notorious outside Gitmo because many insisted that due to his young age he should have been rehabilitated rather than imprisoned.


“Khadr never should have been brought to Guantanamo. He was a child of fifteen at the time he was captured, and his subsequent detention and prosecution for purported war crimes was unlawful, as was his torture by U.S. officials,” New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy wrote in a statement.

Now there’s optimism that Khadr’s transfer could help encourage other detainees to plead guilty, points out Rosenberg.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Sept. 21 2014 11:00 AM Sometimes You Just Need to Print Your Photos the Old-Fashioned Way 
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.