April 19, 2016 / 9:32 PM / in 4 years

Ex-Guantanamo inmate Khadr engaged to be married

TORONTO (Reuters) - Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr, who was once the youngest prisoner in the U.S. military jail, is engaged to be married to a human rights activist, a friend of the couple confirmed on Tuesday.

Omar Khadr smiles as he answers questions during a news conference after being released on bail in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 7, 2015. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/File photo

Khadr, 29, was returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the rest of his sentence for killing a U.S. soldier. A Canadian court later ruled that he could be released on bail and he left jail last year.

Khadr is now engaged to Edmonton, Alberta-based Muna Abougoush, according to the couple’s friend Kathleen Copps.

Nathan Whitling, a lawyer who worked on Khadr’s case, said the engagement is “a happy thing.”

Abougoush was a founder of the online campaign “Free Omar Khadr Now” and also wrote to and paid many visits to Khadr while he was in prison in the Canadian province of Alberta, according to local media reports.

Khadr’s case has divided Canadians. The former Conservative government opposed his release.

But the recently elected Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped a bid to return him to jail, and said the Canadian citizen should remain free while he appealed his murder conviction by a U.S. military tribunal.

Khadr had pleaded guilty to charges that included murdering a U.S. Army medic in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, when Khadr was 15.

He later recanted, saying he pleaded guilty to get out of the Guantanamo base in Cuba.

Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, a senior al Qaeda member who apprenticed the boy to a group of bomb makers who opened fire when U.S. troops came to their compound. Khadr was captured in the firefight, during which he was blinded in one eye and shot twice in the back.

Editing by Chris Reese

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