Omar Khadr: Child Soldier or Murderer?
The 28-year-old Canadian has been at the centre of that controversy since he was 15. In October 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes, including “murder in violation of war," in return for a plea deal that gave him an 8-year sentence and a chance to return to Canada. He later recanted his confession and his Guantanamo conviction is being appealed in the U.S.
THE TORONTO STAR: Omar Khadr in his own words
THE CURRENT: Omar Khadr shares his story in 'Out of the Shadows' documentary
CBCNEWS.CA: On 'freedom high,' Omar Khadr knows 'people are just going to think I'm fake'
DOC ZONE: The U.S. vs. Omar Khadr
OPINION: Good Muslim, Bad Muslim
Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows features unprecedented access and exclusive interviews with Omar Khadr during his first few days of freedom in Edmonton, where he was finally released on bail on May 7, after nearly 13 years in detention.
This documentary delivers an intimate portrait of how a teenager from a Toronto suburb ended up being at the centre of one of the first U.S. war crimes trials since the prosecution of Nazi commanders in the 1940s. He is the only juvenile who has ever been tried for war crimes. Out of the Shadows gives Omar Khadr the opportunity to speak for himself on camera for the first time.
Based in part on Michelle Shephard’s authoritative book Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr, the documentary takes us from his childhood spent traveling between a Canadian suburb and Peshawar at the height of the jihad against the Soviets, into Afghanistan and the homes of al-Qaeda’s elite, into the notorious U.S. prisons at Bagram and Guantanamo and back again to Canada.
UPDATE: Khadr is now living in Edmonton with the family of his lawyer Dennis Edney and attending university. Now that his story is told, he says his greatest wish is to fade from the spotlight. A feature-length version of the film premiered at Toronto's International Film Festival (TIFF) in September to sold out crowds, and made its international premiere at the prestigious Amsterdam documentary festival (IDFA), as part of its "Movies that Matter" program. The feature film also received an emotional welcome in Calgary, where it was awarded the festival's "Audience Choice" and where Khadr participated in the post-screening Q&A to standing ovations.
Directed by Patrick Reed and co-directed by Toronto Star journalist Michelle Shephard, Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows is a White Pine Pictures production in association with the CBC.