Credits: REUTERS/Janet Hamlin/Pool
OTTAWA - One of Canada's most reviled citizens has his papers to return to his country of birth, and it's up to the feds to decide when that happens.
Omar Khadr, 25, a convicted terrorist who fought on the side of al-Qaida in Afghanistan is sentenced to serve eight years for murdering American soldier Christopher Speer in 2002.
He has been held in Guantanamo Bay since he was captured in battle.
The federal government and Washington agreed that Khadr is allowed to return to Canada after serving one year in U.S. custody. But analysts say it doesn't have to be an immediate return.
"There is a check list in the International Transfer of Offenders Act, and one of the things Public Safety Minister Vic Toews must do is answer in the affirmative that this prison transfer is not a public danger," said Ezra Levant, Sun News Network host, and author of the book on Khadr The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies and the White Washing of Omar Khadr.
"He's the most dangerous type of individual that you can imagine to take back into your country. He's a convicted war criminal, he's an enemy combatant, he's infected with the virus of radical Jihad, so maybe you don't want him back on your home soil," said retired lieutenant colonel Jeffrey Addicott, former senior legal advisor to the U.S. Army's Special Forces and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in Texas. "If I were a Canadian, I would worry he could become a lightning rod for jihadists in Canada, they'd make him some type of hero, a martyr, it's best to just let sleeping dogs lie and leave him where he's at."
He says Canada could say 'no' to the Obama administration and leave Khadr in the U.S. for his full sentence, since they house plenty of Canadian convicts already.
"The U.S. no longer wants him and has asked us to take him," said Julie Carmichael, spokeswoman for Toews. "No final decisions have been made at this time, however any decision on his application will be made in accordance with Canadian law."
The feds have their fingers crossed that Khadr won't return to his terrorist activities.
"We can never guarantee that a citizen won't commit offences in the future," said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. "At the end of the day Canadians who commit crimes abroad at some point have a right to come back to the country and we certainly hope they don't re-offend."