Guantanamo's Youngest Detainee Pleads Guilty
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Dina, good morning.
DINA TEMPLE: Good morning.
INSKEEP: We should mention Omar Khadr is in his 20s now - his mid-20s. What did he plead guilty to?
TEMPLE: Well, the plea agreement hasn't been formally released yet. But what we understand is that he pleaded guilty to being a member of al-Qaida, to conspiring with al-Qaida, to building roadside bombs and then throwing this grenade you talked about into an American Jeep killing this Special Forces medic Christopher Speer. So basically everything he was accused of he plead guilty to.
INSKEEP: So does that amount to a victory for the United States and for the Obama administration?
TEMPLE: But what ended up happening, is that this child soldier issue clouded the process, so I think the administration's relieved that he took a plea. And they've been trying for months to get him to plead guilty and Khadr had said he never would.
INSKEEP: Well, do you have any idea why, in the end, he decided that he would plead guilty here?
TEMPLE: He's likely to spend the next year in Cuba and then he can apply to Canada for repatriation and serve out the rest of his sentence there. I mean, we don't know exactly what that sentence is going to be until a sentencing hearing finishes up later this week, but what we think we know is that he won't serve more than eight more years. And that's what the plea agreement lays out.
INSKEEP: So something in the neighborhood of - well, something between that one year and those eight years that you just mentioned. So he would be, instead of 24 years old as he is now, somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 when he gets out of prison. What happens to him then?
TEMPLE: But no one's really talking about that. You know, right now, both the Obama administration and defense attorneys sort of see that they have this behind them. You know, the administration now doesn't have to answer questions about trying a child for war crimes, and defense attorneys don't have a client spending the rest of their life in jail. So I think they're calling this a draw.
INSKEEP: A couple of seconds, Dina. Are they still many questions about what's going to happen with other detainees as other court proceedings near?
TEMPLE: Very much so. There's nothing in the pipeline until February, but that's when we'll see sort of the next military commission I think.
INSKEEP: OK. Dina, thanks very much.
TEMPLE: You're welcome.
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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