Controversial convict Omar Khadr could be released from prison on day parole in less than three months.
According to a timetable provided to CBC News by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), Khadr is eligible for day parole on Jan. 1, 2013 – and for full parole seven months later, on July 1, 2013.
On day parole, offenders work, volunteer or go to school during the day then report back to a community-based residential facility known as a halfway house; while on full parole the offender lives on their own but reports regularly to a parole officer.
Khadr, 26, returned to Canada last weekend after 10 years in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp, ending a lengthy jurisdictional tug-of-war between Canadian and U.S. government officials.
Always a polarizing figure, some see Khadr as a child soldier and victim of the war on terror, while others view him as a ruthless murderer and unrepentant jihadist.
Khadr was 15 years old at the time he threw a fatal grenade in a four-hour firefight and was subsequently captured.
In October 2010, he pleaded guilty to five war crimes, including the murder of American medic Sgt. Christopher Speer, at a military commission in 2010. He received an eight-year sentence, and was transferred back to Canada last weekend to serve out the remainder of his jail sentence.
Khadr has not filed an application yet
Caroline Douglas, director of communications for the Parole Board of Canada, said an offender must apply for day parole – and can choose to or not. But full parole reviews are mandatory unless the offender waives his or her right.
Khadr's lawyer, John Norris, told CBC News that no application has been made to date.
Scheduling and length of time between an application and hearing varies and depends on "a host of variables," but the fact that an offender was convicted in another jurisdiction has no bearing on the process, Douglas said.
Khadr’s statutory release date is Sept. 20, 2016, and his warrant expiry date is two years later – on Sept. 20, 2018.
Khadr is now incarcerated at Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont. He will be eligible for family visits and escorted and unescorted trips into the community, but CSC would not provide details of eligibility.
"For privacy reasons, we can not disclose the specifics of an offender's case," said CSC spokeswoman Suzanne Leclerc.
Minister will trust Correctional Service of Canada decision
Announcing Khadr’s return to Canada last weekend, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews called him a “known supporter of the al-Qaeda terrorist network and a convicted terrorist” – a characterization and statement some criticized as prejudicial to the offender’s future chances for release.
Khadr's lawyers see their client as a strong candidate for parole based on his good behaviour while in detention.
Asked if the minister would intervene to prevent Khadr from gaining day passes or parole, his spokeswoman said Toews is entrusting the appropriate agencies.
"He is satisfied the Correctional Service of Canada can administer Omar Khadr's sentence in a manner which recognizes the serious nature of the crimes that he has committed and ensure the safety of Canadians is protected during incarceration,” said director of communications Julie Carmichael.
“Any decisions related to his future will be determined by the independent Parole Board of Canada in accordance with Canadian law."
Earlier on HuffPost:
5 Questions About The Future Of Omar Khadr
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/02/omar-khadr-future_n_1931537.html?1349187537">5 Questions About The Future Of Omar Khadr from CBC</a>
Where will Khadr spend the rest of his sentence?
That’s still unknown. Khadr is in custody under a 23-hour-a day lockdown at Millhaven, where he gets an hour a day of exercise in the courtyard. He is in the assessment unit where correctional officials are determining the appropriate level of security required for him and where he will be placed for the long term. That process could take weeks. His lawyers have argued that while in Guantanamo Bay, Khadr was a model prisoner and does not need to be placed in maximum security, meaning he could be transferred to another facility. (Although, his lawyer Brydie Bethell told the Globe and Mail, it may make sense to be in maximum security for his own safety.) The Toronto Star reported it is also possible that Khadr could be transferred to the Special Handling Unit. Also known as SHU, located in Sainte-anne-des-Plaines, Que., the maximum security facility holds others who have been convicted of terrorism offences. <em>In this file handout image taken from a 2003 U.S. Department of Defense surveillance video and provided Tuesday, July 15, 2008 by Omar Khadr's defense lawyers, Khadr is shown in an interrogation room at the Guatanamo U.S. Naval Base prison while being questioned by members of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. A decade after Khadr was pulled near death from the rubble of a bombed-out compound in Afghanistan, the Canadian citizen set foot on Canadian soil early Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, after an American military flight from the notorious prison in Guantanamo Bay. Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan and was eligible to return to Canada from Guantanamo Bay last October under terms of a plea deal. Canada's conservative government took almost a year to approve the transfer. </em>
Will Khadr undergo any rehabilitation programs while in custody?
Constitutional and human rights lawyer Paul Champ told CBC News that because Khadr is considered a child soldier, Canada would have an obligation to provide rehabilitation and counselling to him under international law. Like all federal inmates entering the Correctional Service of Canada, Khadr will be provided with a correctional plan. In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for CSC said the department provides a number programs to "help offenders to address the factors that led to their offences and to assist in their safe reintegration into our communities." CSC also states it offers inmates "meaningful rehabilitation programs" and employment activities. But it's unclear whether the CSC has any specific deradicalization program and whether Khadr would partake.
When will Khadr be eligible for parole?
Khadr's eight-year sentence started on Oct. 31, 2010, meaning he has six years left. Khadr's previous lawyers believed their client should be released immediately upon his return to Canada because his rights were violated during his time in Guantanamo Bay. So far, his current lawyers have said they have not made any decisions yet regarding the application for parole but have said Khadr could be eligible as early as the spring or summer of 2013. As Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said, ultimately it will be up to the National Parole Board to decide whether Khadr should be released and under what conditions. The NPB's decision will be based on a number of factors including his risk to society and likelihood of reoffending. If his application is rejected, he would be able to reapply every year. It's possible that parole conditions could include parts of a 'deradicalization' plan mapped out by his then lawyers in 2008, based on DDR programs: disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. That plan would have included treatment for Khadr in a secure facility at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where he would be psychologically assessed for risk of terrorist activity. They had also proposed Khadr live with his maternal grandparents, who were said to have not been associated with radical ideologies, in a Toronto suburb for two to three years. The final stage of that plan would see Khadr on a supervised release, lasting from one to three years, and under strict conditions such as forcing him to refrain from drug use, petty crime or interacting with specific individuals. He would also be involved in a religious deradicalization program with help from a prominent Islamic figure in the community.
What will Khadr do once released?
Khadr’s sentence finishes Oct. 30, 2018, meaning at that point he will be released into the public without conditions, having served his time. Khadr’s lawyers have said that Khadr wants to pursue education and become a health-care practitioner. Arlette Zinck, an English professor at Edmonton's King’s University College, has spent the past two years visiting and tutoring Khadr at Guantanamo Bay. In an email to CBC News, King's vice-president of institutional advancement Dan VanKeeken wrote, "Once his prison term is over, if he decided to apply to King's we would treat him as any other applicant." In 2010, during his sentencing, Khadr said he would “be honoured” to attend the university and said he hoped someday to go into medicine. But some have suggested that Khadr could be kept under close watch by Canada's security agency. <em>This undated photo shows Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, a Canadian, taken before he was imprisoned in 2002 at the age of 15. A decade after Khadr was pulled near death from the rubble of a bombed-out compound in Afghanistan, the Canadian citizen set foot on Canadian soil early Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, after an American military flight from the notorious prison in Guantanamo Bay. Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan and was eligible to return to Canada from Guantanamo Bay last October under terms of a plea deal. Canada's conservative government took almost a year to approve the transfer. </em>
Are there any conditions placed on Khadr upon his release?
As part of his plea bargain, Khadr agreed to certain conditions. He said he would never enter the United States or take legal action against the U.S. in regards to his capture and detention. Khadr also agreed he would not make money from his experiences and that he would hand over to the Canadian government any profits or proceeds he may receive in connection with the "publication or dissemination of information" relating to his crimes. Khadr also said he would not assign the "rights to my story" that would provide financial benefit to him, his associates or family members.
Sept. 12: HuffPost Reports Khadr's Return
Sept. 12: OTTAWA -- Convicted war criminal Omar Khadr will be back in Canada before winter, ending a diplomatic logjam with the United States after a controversial legal saga that has divided Canadians ever since he was captured on an Afghan battlefield a decade ago. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/12/omar-khadr-canada-return_n_1878041.html" target="_hplink">READ STORY HERE</a>
Sept 12: Omar Khadr's return
After The Huffington Post Canada's report, the Prime Minister's Office tweeted a response:
Andrew MacDougall Tweet From Sept. 12
Althia Raj's Tweet on Sept. 12 Responding
Sept. 29: Khadr on the way home: reports
TORONTO - There are reports that Omar Khadr is being repatriated to Canada after spending nearly a decade in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Several American and Canadian media outlets are citing unnamed sources as saying Khadr is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/29/omar-khadr-canadian-guantanamo-coming-home_n_1925084.html?utm_hp_ref=canada" target="_hplink">being flown back to Canada this morning</a>.
Royal Commission Now
Sept. 12 Tweets reacting to Khadr's return
Here are Tweets reacting to Omar Khadr's return
Harris Ace Jackson