Omar Khadr, once a Guantanamo inmate, freed on bail in Canada

Thu May 7, 2015 9:50pm EDT
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By Dan Riedlhuber

EDMONTON, Alberta (Reuters) - Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was once the youngest prisoner held on terror charges at Guantanamo Bay, was released on bail from an Alberta prison Thursday while he appeals a murder conviction by a U.S. military tribunal.

A judge in an Alberta court ruled that Khadr, who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 and pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. soldier, can be released on bail, denying an appeal by the Canadian government to keep him in custody.

Khadr, 28, who was transferred to Alberta from a U.S. naval base prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2012, emerged from his lawyer's home Thursday evening to neighbors' cheers.

"I'm sorry for the pain that I might have caused the families of the victims," Khadr told reporters, adding: "I can't change the past. All I can do is work on the present and the future."

Asked if he denounces violent jihad, Khadr softly but firmly replied: "Yes."

Khadr was the first person since World War Two to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.

His case has divided Canadians. While the government opposed his release, human rights advocates such as Amnesty International say the one-time child soldier has been denied due process.

Bail conditions imposed by an Alberta court include that Khadr wear an electronic monitoring device, live with his lawyer in Edmonton, observe a nightly curfew, and has only monitored contact with his family.   Continued...

Omar Khadr smiles as he answers questions during a news conference after being released on bail in Edmonton, Alberta, May 7, 2015. Khadr, a Canadian, was once the youngest prisoner held on terror charges at Guantanamo Bay.    REUTERS/Todd Korol