Canada Claims ‘US Pressure’ in Taking Gitmo Child Soldier

Foreign Minister Says US Insisted on 'Early' Return

by Jason Ditz, September 30, 2012

The last Western citizen held at Guantanamo Bay, child soldier Omar Khadr, has finally returned to Canada nearly a full year after he was initially scheduled to. This, in Canada’s estimation, amounted to taking him back “early.”

Foreign Minister John Baird claims that Canada only took Khadr back now because of “US pressure” and that the Obama Administration insisted that they wanted rid of him and, as Baird added “we’re pretty obliged to take him.”

Canadian human rights groups and Khadr’s lawyers had blasted the government, and Public Security Minister Vic Toews, for repeatedly refusing to bring Khadr back. Toews went so far as to refuse to accept Khadr’s application for repatriation.

Back in Canada Khadr ought to be eligible for early release, if not the outright dismissal of his charges given the lack of evidence and his excessively young age when he was initially captured by the US. The Obama Administration is said to have had “talks” with Canada before the transfer, however, and may have placed secret conditions on his return.

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