Omar Khadr appears at Calgary screening of documentary on his life
Guantanamo's Child chronicles Canadian's journey from al-Qaeda to U.S. detention centre to freedom
Hundreds of Calgarians packed a downtown theatre Friday night to watch a documentary on the life of Omar Khadr, who was a surprise guest at the film's screening.
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Guantanamo's Child chronicles his life, including the decade he spent imprisoned at the U.S detention camp at the southeastern end of Cuba from the age of 15.
Khadr, now 28, was released on bail in May while he appeals his U.S. conviction for war crimes, including the murder of an American soldier.
He has been living in Edmonton with his lawyer, Dennis Edney, who was with him at the theatre.
Before his release, Khadr had spent 13 years in prison.
Michelle Shephard, one of the film's directors, says Khadr's story is a compelling one.
"He's a historic figure in the sense that he's the first juvenile in modern history to be tried for war crimes and he's also the only captive to ever be charged with murder from the Pentagon," she said.
"I think for us it was really important not to make an activist film. We didn't go in with any point of view. We wanted to tell the whole story."
Khadr was given a round of applause and took questions from the audience after the film's screening.
"I focused on the positive things in life, you can get lost in the darkness, but the smallest flicker is what you should notice in those dark times," he said.
Audience member Stephen Murdoch said he has been captivated by Khadr's story.
"I don't know if it's fair to be put in prison when you're only 15 and to be put in that prison when you're that age, so that's what draws me in to see a film like this."
Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 after a firefight with U.S. soldiers, and accused of throwing a grenade that killed the American soldier.
In a deal that included his repatriation to Canada, Khadr pleaded guilty on Oct. 25, 2010, to murder in violation of the laws of war, attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, and two counts of providing material support for terrorism and spying.
He was returned to Canada on Sept. 29, 2012, to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Last week an Edmonton judge loosened his bail restrictions, allowing him to remove an electronic monitoring bracelet and to visit family members in Toronto.
The federal government is currently trying to overturn his bail.