Khadr got off easy, should count his blessings

This Sunday the U.S. military panel in Guantanamo Bay handed down a symbolic 40-year sentence to Canadian-born Omar Khadr for the killing of U.S. sergeant first class Christopher Speer in Afghanistan in 2002. This case has been controversial due to Khadr being the age of 15 at the time of the killing and seen by many as a child soldier.

Even with the sentence handed down, Khadr will only serve a maximum of eight years in prison and be eligible to transfer to Canada after serving one year as per the conditions of his plea bargain.

It is a travesty that Khadr is getting off so lightly with his eight year sentence given the enormity of his crime. It would be equally ridiculous for Canada to grant his extradition request after serving one year.

The reality is that Khadr committed murder with the killing of sergeant Speer, a medic, who had earlier saved the lives of two Afghani children from a minefield. The United States has every right as a sovereign and democratic nation to seek justice for the family of sergeant Speer by prosecuting and jailing his murderer. Canada would expect the same if Khadr’s victim was a Canadian medic.

Canada should feel no obligation to ensure a free ride for Khadr by bringing him home. The only injustices about this case are the loss of sergeant Speer’s life and the fact Khadr will again walk freely in Canadian society. He should count his blessings he had the benefit of such a lenient legal system.

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