Omar Khadr, once a Guantanamo inmate, freed on bail in Canada

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Former Guantanamo Inmate Freed on Bail in Canada

(Reuters) - Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was once the youngest prisoner held on terror charges at Guantanamo Bay, will be released on bail from an Alberta prison on Thursday while he appeals a murder conviction by a U.S. military tribunal.

A judge in an Alberta court ruled that Khadr, who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 and pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. soldier, can be released on bail, denying an appeal by the Canadian government to keep him in custody.

Khadr, 28, was transferred to Alberta from prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2012.

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Omar Khadr, once a Guantanamo inmate, freed on bail in Canada
In this artists rendering, Omar Khadr appears in an Edmonton courtroom, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Khadr's lawyer is arguing that his client should be moved from a maximum security prison to a provincial jail. The Toronto-born Khadr was 15 when he was captured by American soldiers in Afghanistan. He last appeared in court in Guantanamo Bay, where he pleaded guilty to five war crimes in October 2010 before a U.S. military commission. He was given an eight-year sentence. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Amanda McRoberts)
FILE - In an April 28, 2010 file artists rendering, Canadian defendant Omar Khadr attends his hearing in the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. In a courtroom in Guantanamo Bay, Khadr withdrew his previous not-guilty plea and then pleaded guilty, Monday Oct. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Janet Hamlin, Pool)
In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the U.S. military, Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, far left, sits with his defense team during a hearing in the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Wednesday, July 15, 2009. Hearings in four separate cases are being held Wednesday and Thursday, including the case titled U.S. vs Mohammed, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four fellow Sept. 11, 2001 attack defendants. (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool)
From left, Canadian defendant Omar Khadr's lawyer Dennis Edney, left, talks with Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard, second left, while civilian attorney Sarah Altschuller, a member of the defense team of Ibrahim Qosi, second right,gestures towards the day's courtroom sketches while talking with defense counsel Navy Lt. Cmdr. Travis Owens, after a day of hearings at Camp Justice U.S. war crimes tribunal compound, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Wednesday, July 15, 2009. Hearings in four separate cases are being held Wednesday and Thursday, including the case titled U.S. vs Mohammed, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four fellow Sept. 11, 2001 attack defendants. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)
In this photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, the prosecution team in the case against Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, left to right, U.S. Marine Maj. Jeff Groharing, U.S. Commissions Chief Prosecutor Navy Captain John Murphy, and army Capt. Keith Petty, participate in a news conference following a U.S. Commissions hearing , at Camp Justice, the site of the U.S. war crimes tribunal compound, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Monday, June 1, 2009. Khadr asked the judge in his case to dismiss all his U.S. military defense attorneys Monday, saying he has lost trust in the lawyers after seeing them argue among themselves. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)
FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2008 file courtroom drawing by artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by the US military, Canadian-born accused terrorist Omar Khadr attends a pre-trial session in Camp Justice on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Omar Khadr, convicted of killing a U.S. soldier, will be released on bail Thursday, May 7, 2015, after Court of Appeal Jutice Myra Bielby refused a last-ditch attempt by the Canadian government to keep him jailed. (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool, File)
In this courtroom drawing by artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by the US military, Canadian-born accused terrorist Omar Khadr, left, sits next to his defense team during a pre-trial session in Camp Justice on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. Khadr faces charges of murdering a US soldier in a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.(AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool)
In this courtroom drawing by artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by the US military, Canadian-born accused terrorist Omar Khadr doodling as his lead defense counsel, Navy Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler, addresses the judge, Army Colonel Pat Parrish, during a pre-trial session in Camp Justice on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. Khadr faces charges of murdering a US soldier in a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.(AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool)
FILE - In this file handout image taken from a 2003 U.S. Department of Defense surveillance video and provided Tuesday, July 15, 2008 by Omar Khadr's defense lawyers, Khadr is shown in an interrogation room at the Guatanamo U.S. Naval Base prison while being questioned by members of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. A decade after Khadr was pulled near death from the rubble of a bombed-out compound in Afghanistan, the Canadian citizen set foot on Canadian soil early Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, after an American military flight from the notorious prison in Guantanamo Bay. Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan and was eligible to return to Canada from Guantanamo Bay last October under terms of a plea deal. Canada's conservative government took almost a year to approve the transfer. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Defense via The Canadian Press, File)
Photo reviewed by US military officials shows a classroom in Gautanamo Bay Camp VI in Guantanamo where 70 prisonners are detained on Guantanamo October 23, 2010. Trial proceedings were set to resume October 25, 2010 for Canadian inmate Omar Khadr, the last Westerner at the US prison at Guantanamo, amid a flurry of activity that could lead to a plea agreement. The trial for 24-year-old Canadian, appearing before the revamped military tribunal set up by US President Barack Obama, resumes after a suspension in August when military defense lawyer Jon Jackson collapsed. The proceedings at the detention center on the US naval base located in Cuba were resuming even though another defense lawyer said talks on a plea deal were ongoing. AFP PHOTO / Virginie MONTET (Photo credit should read Virginie Montet/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo reviewed by US military officials shows the Gautanamo Bay Camp VI in Guantanamo where 70 prisonners are detained on Guantanamo October 23, 2010. Trial proceedings were set to resume October 25, 2010 for Canadian inmate Omar Khadr, the last Westerner at the US prison at Guantanamo, amid a flurry of activity that could lead to a plea agreement. The trial for 24-year-old Canadian, appearing before the revamped military tribunal set up by US President Barack Obama, resumes after a suspension in August when military defense lawyer Jon Jackson collapsed. The proceedings at the detention center on the US naval base located in Cuba were resuming even though another defense lawyer said talks on a plea deal were ongoing. AFP PHOTO / Virginie MONTET (Photo credit should read Virginie Montet/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo reviewed by US military officials shows 'confort items' given to the detainees: newspaper, games and one PS3 for the whole camp at Gautanamo Bay Camp VI in Guantanamo where 70 prisonners are detained on Guantanamo October 23, 2010. Trial proceedings were set to resume October 25, 2010 for Canadian inmate Omar Khadr, the last Westerner at the US prison at Guantanamo, amid a flurry of activity that could lead to a plea agreement. The trial for 24-year-old Canadian, appearing before the revamped military tribunal set up by US President Barack Obama, resumes after a suspension in August when military defense lawyer Jon Jackson collapsed. The proceedings at the detention center on the US naval base located in Cuba were resuming even though another defense lawyer said talks on a plea deal were ongoing. AFP PHOTO / Virginie MONTET (Photo credit should read Virginie Montet/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo reviewed by US military officials shows a class area in Camp VI in Guantanamo Bay where 70 prisonners are detained on Guantanamo October 23, 2010. Trial proceedings were set to resume October 25, 2010 for Canadian inmate Omar Khadr, the last Westerner at the US prison at Guantanamo, amid a flurry of activity that could lead to a plea agreement. The trial for 24-year-old Canadian, appearing before the revamped military tribunal set up by US President Barack Obama, resumes after a suspension in August when military defense lawyer Jon Jackson collapsed. The proceedings at the detention center on the US naval base located in Cuba were resuming even though another defense lawyer said talks on a plea deal were ongoing. AFP PHOTO / Virginie MONTET (Photo credit should read Virginie Montet/AFP/Getty Images)
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He was the first person since World War Two to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.

The Khadr case has divided Canadians. While the government has opposed his release, human rights advocates such as Amnesty International have argued that the one-time child soldier has been denied access to due process.

Bail conditions imposed by an Alberta court include that Khadr wears an electronic monitoring device, lives with his lawyer in Edmonton, observes a nightly curfew, and has only monitored contact with his family.

"I am delighted, incredibly delighted. It has taken too many years to get to this point," Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, told reporters outside the Edmonton courthouse.

He said Khadr would speak to reporters on Friday to tell his story to the Canadian public.

A judge had ruled in April that Khadr should be released on bail, but the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper appealed, arguing that his release would harm Canada's relationship with the United States.

"We are disappointed with today's decision, and regret that a convicted terrorist has been allowed back into Canadian society without having served his full sentence," a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a statement.

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Canada breached Khadr's rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him at Guantanamo Bay in both 2003 and 2004, and by sharing the results with the United States.

Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, a senior al Qaeda member, who apprenticed the boy to a group of bomb makers who opened fire when U.S. troops went to their compound. A firefight followed, during which Khadr was blinded in one eye and shot twice in the back, and he was captured.

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