Canadian Khadr pleads guilty in Guantanamo trial
By Jane Sutton
GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Canadian captive Omar Khadr pleaded guilty on Monday to all five terrorism charges against him in the U.S. war crimes tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of a deal that could send him home to serve the rest of his sentence in a year.
Khadr, who was 15 and gravely wounded when captured during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, admitted he conspired with al Qaeda and killed a U.S. soldier with a grenade.
Terms of the 24-year-old Toronto native's plea deal were not immediately disclosed, but lawyers had reportedly discussed an eight-year cap on his total sentence.
The United States agreed to support Khadr's request to return to Canada in one year to serve the rest of his sentence there, Khadr's lawyers told the court.
They said U.S. and Canadian officials had exchanged diplomatic notes but that his return would ultimately be up to the Canadian government.
A spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon acknowledged that Khadr had pleaded guilty and said, "This matter is between Mr. Khadr and the U.S. government. We have no further comment."
A jury of seven U.S. military officers will gather in the courtroom on Tuesday to hear testimony about the impact of Khadr's actions and then impose a sentence. If their sentence differs from that in the plea agreement, Khadr will serve whichever is shorter.
Before accepting the plea, the judge said questioned Khadr to ensure the defendant understood he was waiving his right to appeal. Continued...