The sentence was handed down Sunday under a plea bargain in which the young Canadian admitted to five war crimes charges, including killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Under the deal, the judge was limited to the eight-year sentence and had to ignore the recommendation of a military jury that Khadr serve 40 years.He was 17 when he killed U.S. Army medic Christopher Speer, and will be as young as 32 when he is ultimately released.
The case attracted intense scrutiny and criticism because Khadr was 15 when he was captured after suffering serious wounds during a four-hour battle at an Al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.
Appearing relaxed, Khadr stared straight ahead as the judge read a sentence that calls for him to stay at the Guantanmo prison another year before he can ask Canada's government to allow him to return to his homeland to serve out his sentence or seek early release on parole. He doesn't get credit for the eight years he already spent at Guantanamo.
The case made headlines because of Khadr's age at the time he was captured and accused of killing Sgt. Speer and that he has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for a significant portion of the time he has been in US custody. His Canadian lawyer claims that his rights were violated and that the admission of guilt is baseless, but the fact is that he did kill Speer and for that, his ultimate sentence is far too lenient.