By Althia Raj
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.
While Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is not expected to formally communicate the decision for several weeks, The Huffington Post Canada has learned the Conservative Government will approve Khadr’s transfer from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay and plans are afoot to house the 25-year-old Canadian in a federal institution with a segregated space for his own safety.
The exact location has yet to be determined, but Khadr could be placed in a facility such as Kingston Penitentiary, where serial killer Paul Bernardo is held, sources said. Officially, Khadr has six years left to serve of his eight-year sentence, but he could be out on parole as early as next June.
Khadr will likely be in a Canadian institution by November, just in time for the U.S. presidential election, though the transfer date has yet to be set and none of the timelines have been finalized, sources said.
Reached at Khadr’s family home in Toronto, his sister Zaynab Khadr was surprised but cautiously optimistic about her brother’s return to Canada.
“I’ll be happy when my brother is home, until then everything is just the news,” she said.
Multiple sources confirmed that Toews will approve the transfer because Khadr is a Canadian citizen and Canada must abide by its bilateral treaties.