A Canadian citizen, who was the last Western prisoner at the U.S. Guantanamo detention facility in Cuba, has been transferred to Canada after a decade in custody on terrorism and murder charges, the U.S. Department of Defense said.
Toronto-born Omar Khadr, 26, was reportedly 15 years old when he was captured during a gun battle with U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan in 2002. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to killing a U.S. soldier in that firefight.
“The United States Government has returned Khadr to Canada where he will serve out his remaining sentence,” the Department of Defense said on Saturday.
According to the U.S. military, Khadr was supposed to serve only a year of confinement in U.S. custody under a pre-trial agreement but his transfer has been delayed until now due to the reluctance of Canadian officials to accept his return.
Khadr was flown to the Millhaven maximum security prison in Bath, Ontario, on Saturday morning. His controversial detention will be handled by the Canadian authorities from now on, although he could be eligible for parole as early as next year.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is located within the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
Today, 166 detainees remain in detention at Guantanamo, which was made into a permanent U.S. penitentiary facility in 2001 following September 11 attacks on U.S. soil. Most of the prisoners are terrorism suspects.