A panel of seven senior US military officers on Oct. 31 sentenced Canadian Guantánamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr to 40 years in prison, but Khadr will serve no more than eight years under the terms of a guilty plea agreement. Khadr pleaded guilty last week to all five charges against him, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and espionage, agreeing to serve an eight-year sentence. He will serve only one year of his sentence at Guantánamo and will then be able to apply to be transferred to Canada and will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence. According to a diplomatic note agreement the US and Canada, Khadr’s application will be “favorably” considered.
Khadr is the fifth person to be convicted by a Guantánamo military court, but is the first to be charged with murder and convicted for a crime committed as a juvenile. Khadr was charged at the age of 15, after he was captured following a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002 in which he threw a hand grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another. In addition to pleading guilty, Khadr signed a stipulation of fact confirming that he was a member of al-Qaeda, that he threw the grenade and that he felt “happy” when he learned an American soldier had been killed.
From Jurist, Nov. 1. Used with permission.