A former teenage al-Qaida fighter was sentenced Sunday to eight more years in custody under the terms of a plea agreement unsealed after a military sentencing jury said he should serve 40 years for war crimes.
Omar Khadr looked straight ahead as a military judge imposed the eight-year sentence, ending a legal odyssey that began when the Canadian son of a major al-Qaida figure was captured – at age 15 – with severe wounds in Afghanistan in 2002 after a four-hour firefight.
Khadr pleaded guilty Oct. 25 to five war crimes including murder for throwing a grenade that mortally wounded an American special forces medic, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer. Military prosecutors said it was no routine battlefield killing because the Canadian was not a legitimate soldier, but an al-Qaida fighter.
Speer’s widow, Tabitha, pumped her fist and cheered “yes!” when the jury announced its 40-year sentence. Then she burst into tears.
Under terms of the plea deal, the U.S. agreed to send the now 24-year-old Khadr – the last Western prisoner at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba - back to his homeland after one more year in custody. He has been held at Guantanamo for eight years.
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In: Afghanistan, News
Tags: Obama, Justice:, Gitmo, ‘Child, Soldier’, Should, Get, 40, Years, –, Plea, Deal, Means, He, Will, Get, 8, Years
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