From The Globe and Mail, Toronto
Omar Khadr was raised to be a terrorist, and became one. But Canada has no cause to loathe him, or punish him anymore. This country should do what should have been done many years ago with him - focus on how to achieve his rehabilitation, safely.
Khadr was 11 when his Toronto family took him to live in the Afghan terror camps of Osama bin Laden. At 15, he was apprehended by the United States on the battlefield. He is now 26, and has never known what it is to live an ordinary, constructive life in freedom.
He deserves that chance now, within a parole framework that provides for support and sensible rules - such as not living with his family. Canada shouldn't throw away its young people, even those who have gone terribly awry. It shouldn't seek retribution because it abhors their families (his late father and several brothers were al-Qaeda members, and his mother and sister have spoken approvingly of terrorism). It shouldn't seek to make political gain from that kind of abhorrence. ...
Now that he is back in Canada, those standards should prevail. Ostensibly, Khadr's jail term runs until late in 2018, but in Canada the first chance at parole for a 15-year-old who commits the most serious crime in the Criminal Code, murder, is at seven years, and he has already served 10, most of them in harsh conditions at the U.S. terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He should be treated fairly by the
Khadr pleaded guilty when faced with a possible penalty of life behind bars to killing a U.S. soldier with a grenade during a firefight, and other crimes. He has paid a heavy price for his crimes, and his family's. Khadr needs a chance now to live as a human being, not a symbol.