Guantanamo's Final Days

The infamous Prison Camp ain't dead yet

In any case, Khadr's attorney, Edney, says Omar can be rehabilitated. He describes Omar as an open-minded young man who likes to read Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. According to a welfare report conducted by Canadian officials in March 2008, Khadr is a "likeable, funny, and intelligent young man" who, despite limited education, six years of detention, and no rehabilitation opportunities, demonstrates "remarkable insight and self-awareness." The report concludes Khadr is "salvageable" and "non-radicalized."

"I don't think anyone really has a handle on who he is today," says Michelle Shephard, author of a book about Khadr called Guantánamo's Child. "Before he was captured, he had a close relationship with his family, but we've heard various reports that at one point he had no interest in talking to his family. . . . At one point, I heard he was very devout, that he was leading prayers on the prison block, and then there's references [in the welfare report] where he's rather blasé about it.

"The only thing that's certain is that if he's released, he will need a lot of help integrating into society."

Soldier Morris
Courtesy Layne Morris
Soldier Morris
The hastily built rooms at Camp X-Ray
Barry Blend
The hastily built rooms at Camp X-Ray


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Khadr's attorney has a rehabilitation plan already in place. He wants Khadr to move in with him and enroll at nearby King's University College. Edney will also assemble a team of Muslim clerics to help re-educate the young man.

Khadr's family has other plans. His mother recently said the family dreams of starting a farm upon his return. They will raise animals, she says, "far away from the pressure of the media and the pressure of the community who are so confused about our life."

Back in Salt Lake City, Layne Morris isn't buying any of it. He points out that one of Khadr's sisters has publicly advocated jihad and a brother has admitted to smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda and plotting to kill the Pakistani prime minister. Most recently, Khadr's family showed up at a Toronto courtroom to show solidarity for a terrorist cell accused of planning to use truck bombs to blow up buildings in the city's downtown area.

"People have a short attention span, I guess," Morris says. "9/11 was, what, seven years ago? And already we forget about what we lost. I'm not complaining. There's so many other guys who made greater sacrifices than I have. Christopher Speer had a wife and two very young children, and that speaks for itself.

"Omar Khadr? People say he's a confused kid, but he knew exactly what he was doing. The way I see it, he should stay in jail for as long as he remains a threat to America."

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