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Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr

Canada Film Days. Omar Khadr: child soldier or unrepentant terrorist? After spending nearly half his life behind bars, including a decade at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre, Khadr is suddenly released. His story, in his own words.

“You know the name and a version of the story: now meet the real human being.

“Shot and captured during a firefight with U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2002, Toronto-born Omar Khadr – then 15 years old – was classified an enemy combatant and shipped to the U.S. facility in Guantánamo Bay, where he spent more than a decade before Alberta lawyer Dennis Edney managed to get him repatriated to Canada and ultimately released into his custody.

“In their documentary, Patrick Reed (Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma) and Toronto Star national security reporter Michelle Shephard don’t shy away from their subject’s actions in Afghanistan: he helped build IEDs used against coalition forces and may or may not have thrown a lethal grenade during the firefight that resulted in his capture.

“But they also demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt his status as a minor and, more to the point, a child soldier who in any other culture would have been considered as much a victim as the people he harmed.

“They also show us the adult that Khadr has become, a traumatized man doing his best to adjust to a world he barely recognizes, who’s hoping people give him the chance to prove he isn’t the monster the Harper government insisted he was.

“The result is a complex, nuanced and surprisingly affecting documentary that’s bound to be denounced as propaganda by people who haven’t watched it.” - Now

 

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