Canadian Omar Khadr pleaded guilty on Monday to all five charges against him, including murder, at the U.S. military war crimes tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.
Toronto-born Khadr was facing the possibility of a life sentence if convicted. His guilty plea is part of a deal believed to attach limits to his sentence.
Although the full terms of the deal were not immediately known, his lawyers had reported discussing an agreement to allow the Canadian's return to his homeland after the completion of one more year of incarceration at Guantanamo. Some sources are reporting the plea bargain would have Khadr serve a further seven years in a Canadian prison.
Khadr, 24, was 15 when shot twice in the back during a gun battle in Afghanistan in 2002. He was accused of throwing the grenade that killed Sgt. Christopher Speer, 28, Delta Force soldier and medic, during a raid by U.S. special forces on a militant compound in eastern Afghanistan. Khadr's original confession to murder was tainted by allegations of torture.
Khadr faced charges of murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, providing material assistance to a terrorist organization and espionage. He also admitted planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and to having received weapons training as a boy at an al-Qaeda run camp.
Khadr's father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was killed in a gun battle in Pakistan in 2003. The U.S. maintains that Ahmed Said Khadr was an al-Qaeda financier. The defence has argued that the young Khadr was forced into war by his militant family making the former child combatant himself a victim.
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