CAGE welcomes the release of Omar Khadr, now 28 after serving 13 years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15.

CAGE Outreach Director and former detainee of Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prisons, Moazzam Begg said:

“The decision to grant Omar Khadr bail so that he can at long last taste freedom is to be commended. However, he should never have been imprisoned for so long and in such conditions in the first place,”

“His lawyers, his family, his supporters and us, the men who got to know this child of Guantanamo, are all relieved that this day has come. But there will be long and hard questions as to why it took so long and, why little has been done to secure the release of the remaining Guantanamo prisoners. Until then, the struggle for justice must go on.”

“I last saw Omar Khadr in the US detention facility in Bagram, in 2002, where he’d been brought in as a fifteen year old bearing horrific wounds to his eyes and body. He was emaciated and weak and yet, remarkably, uncomplaining. The prisoners felt great sadness and pity for him. Even some guards and interrogators expressed their opposition to him being caged with us.”

“But this was just the beginning of Khadr’s ordeal. Another 13 years would pass in Bagram, Guantanamo and Canadian prisons until this child – for that is what he was – saw freedom as a 28-year old man.”

CAGE’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Mohamoud, said:

“Khadr’s release increases the urgency that Guantanamo Bay be closed once and for all.”

“Khadr is subject to a curfew and strict electronic monitoring. It’s safe to say that he is still in many respects in captivity and the state is by no means making it easy for him to fit into society.”

“We call for the release of remaining prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, in particular Shaker Aamer, the last British detainee, who has been cleared for release for over seven years,”

“CAGE supports calls for reparations payments by the United States to former Guantanamo detainees, as suggested by retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens.”

“The plight of six ex-Guantanamo detainees in Uruguay should stimulate urgent discussion about reparations payments and supportive reintegration, which allow prisoners to feel some measure of freedom as opposed to simply moving from one prison to another in a different form.”

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)