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Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:35AM
Omar Khadr at the age 14

Omar Khadr at the age 14

Thousands of people have signed a petition, calling on the Canadian government to bring home Omar Khadr, the Canadian inmate, who has been held at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for 10 years. The online petition, launched by Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire, drew more than 28,000 signatures, who wanted Ottawa to honor a deal with Washington to transfer the 25-year-old Canadian to his family in Toronto, AFP reported Thursday. In an agreement, signed in 2010 between Canada and the United States, Khadr agreed to plead guilty to five charges against him, including confessing to throwing a grenade at the age 15 in Afghanistan that killed a US trooper, in exchange for a relatively-lenient sentence and speedy transfer to Canada. Under the deal, he was sentenced to serve eight years in prison, with only one to be served in Guantanamo Bay. He has been eligible for a transfer to Canada since October 2011, but the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not requested for Khadr’s transfer to Canada, saying the US must first hand over raw video footage of psychiatric interviews with the Guantanamo prisoner. “That year has passed, and yet the transfer request continues to gather dust on the minister’s desk awaiting his signature. This is simply unacceptable," Dallaire said. Khadr, who was the lone survivor of a four-hour-long US bombardment in Afghanistan in 2002, has been held at the US naval base since his arrest in the year. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, UNICEF, and the Canadian Bar Association, have called on the Canadian government to act on the agreement. MN/HN
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