Al Jazeera America is set to air “Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr,” an original documentary about a Toronto-born man who was sent to the controversial prison as a 15-year old in 2002.
The documentary, from White Pine Pictures, Al Jazeera, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and filmmaker Patrick Reed and journalist Michelle Shepherd, will be first broadcast on Monday, June 8th at 10pm ET/7pm PT.
Most Americans know little about Toronto-born Omar Khadr, who was captured as a 15-year old in Afghanistan and eventually pled guilty to war crimes, including the murder of an American soldier.
Khadr spent part of his childhood in Pakistan and Afghanistan and not long after September 11th, his father sent him to work for insurgents as a translator. On July 27, 2002, 15-year old Khadr was in an isolated compound in Khost, Afghanistan when a firefight broke out with U.S. Special Forces.
During the battle, Khadr allegedly threw a hand grenade that killed Delta Force Sergeant Chris Speer. Khadr was captured and held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and eventually moved to the newly opened U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002.
In this documentary, viewers will hear from now 28-year old Khadr, in an interview after his release on bail in May, about his decade in Guantanamo Bay, and what he describes as the antagonising conditions at the controversial military prison. We also learn about his close relationship with his defense attorney Dennis Edney, who represented Khadr for many years and has now welcomed Khadr into his home as he begins his new life outside prison for the first time in 13 years.
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“I heard about a young Canadian kid who was detained abroad, but there wasn’t much information on him,” Edney recalls about his first encounter with Khadr. “I wanted to do something. I was so offended that the law could be so subverted.”
Khadr said: “I wouldn’t wish this experience on anybody but I have a hard time wishing I hadn’t had this experience. People say if you can go back, would you change anything? I would change the firefight, maybe. But wouldn’t that change a lot of things. I’ve come to know wonderful people, I’ve come to know myself because of this experience. It’s a very hard trade for me.”
The documentary offers a look at how international politics and the global war on terror changed the life of a 15-year old child. The film also provides a view of life inside Guantanamo Bay, including interviews with former inmates and guards, as well as Khadr family members.
“Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr” was executive produced by Peter Raymont and directed by filmmakers Patrick Reed and Canadian journalist Michelle Shephard, upon whose book, “Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr” the documentary was based.