- Arrested at 15, then held in Guantanamo for over a decade
- In his first interview since release, Khadr says he wants to move on
- Uses interview to recall his Guantanamo experience
In his first full-length interview since being released from a Canadian prison, Omar Khadr, the former Guantanamo detainee, says, “I don’t wish people to love me. I don’t wish people to hate me. I just wish for people to just give me a chance.”
Khadr talks about his arrest in Afghanistan at the age of 15, as well as the decade he then spent at Guantanamo Bay. The interview is part of a documentary called Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr, a collaboration between Al Jazeera and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It airs on Al Jazeera English on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 20.00 GMT (21:00 CAT).
Khadr was released on bail on 7 May 2015 while appealing his US military conviction.
Khadr says he worries whether his new freedom is going to last and wonders if he is “just hungry to experience everything all at once.”
Having spent the last 13 of his 28 years behind bars, Khadr admits he will face a considerable degree of public suspicion. “People are just going to think that I am fake. You go through a struggle, you go through a trauma, you’re going to be bitter, you’re going to hate some people. It’s just the normal thing to do — and this guy, not having these natural emotions, is probably hiding something.”
Khadr recalls the darkest days while in Guantanamo, saying it has had a profound effect on him but he managed to survive. “I’ve been in Guantanamo for 10 years and if there’s any place where I was going to be brainwashed, it was in Guantanamo, where I only had only one source of influence and that was not necessarily the healthiest and I think I did okay.”
Khadr says his own experience was something he endured and it’s something he would’t wish on anyone else. “I wouldn’t wish this experience on anybody. But I have a hard time thinking about wishing that I haven’t gone through this experience. People say hypothetically, ‘If you can go back, would you change anything?’ I would change the firefight maybe. But within that change, I would do lot of things, like I’ve come to know wonderful people, I’ve come to know myself because of this experience. And it’s a very hard trade for me. But things happened for a reason. Sometimes you have to fall to appreciate standing up.”
Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadrairs on Al Jazeera English on Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 20:00GMT (21:00 CAT). Watch and embed the promo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbgI_lVVrT0.
Kevin Kriedemann & Joy Sapieka
AL JAZEERA MEDIA NETWORK
+27 83 556 2346 (Kevin)
+27 73 212 5492 (Joy)