Saturday, May 09, 2015

A Chance to Start Over?

Khadr free
Omar Khadr, convicted murderer has been released on bail in Alberta after spending nearly half of his life in jail. We are probably all aware that Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old after a firefight with U.S. soldiers. He was accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier. His defense was that he was a combatant, not a terrorist, but he was convicted of this crime. He was the youngest person to be incarcerated at the infamous Guantanamo Bays prison. Eventually Khadr was repatriated to serve his sentence but the Canadian government has fought Khadr's bail and may continue to do so.

In his statement to the media upon release Khadr spoke to young people who are considering joining terrorist organizations: "Don't let emotions control you. I've noticed that a lot of people are manipulated by not being educated."

He also spoke about what lies before him: "I can just say that I'm sorry for the pain that I might [have] caused the families of the victims. There is nothing I can do about the past but ... I can do something about the future."

I appreciate the gravity of taking the life of another human being. I also believe that a boy of 15 should be given the opportunity to make something out of what began as a troubled and manipulated life. We say that our God is a God of second chances and that in Christ we can be forgiven and begin again. I hope this can happen for Omar Khadr.

What are your thoughts on his release?


Judy McKnight said...

Love the last paragraph - again - I am with you on this one, David...

Frank said...

I think we also have to consider that he was younger than 15 (perhaps pre-teen?) when he was wrenched out of Canada by his father and inserted into Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban. Let us also not forget the quagmire of ad-hoc military justice that was applied to his case.
And finally, his bail carries conditions. He is not completely "free".
The government's response to all of this is nothing short of vindictive.