Omar Khadr to learn today if he can leave prison for first time in 13 years

EDMONTON — This could be one of the biggest day’s in Omar Khadr’s life.

An Alberta justice rules this morning on whether to block his bid for bail.

If bail goes ahead, the 28-year-old Khadr will get his first taste of freedom in almost 13 years.

The former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, however, will face numerous restrictions.

He will have to wear a tracking bracelet, observe a nighttime curfew, face limits on contact with his Toronto family, and live with his lawyer, Dennis Edney, in Edmonton.

Khadr won bail earlier while he appeals his war-crimes conviction in the United States, but Ottawa is trying to stop his release.

The government has argued that releasing the inmate from Bowden Institution near Innisfail, Alta., would undermine the treaty under which the U.S. returned him to Canada to serve out his eight-year sentence in 2012.

His lawyers call that purely speculative, saying no other Canadian prisoner abroad is in a similar situation.

They also point to the fact that he’s been a model prisoner who was recently classified as minimum security.

Documents in support of the reclassification include a recent wide-ranging interview Khadr did with a prison psychologist in which he denounces terrorism and says he wants to win people’s trust and respect.

“I’ve screwed up in the past, and I’m worried it will haunt me,” Khadr told the psychologist. “People will think I’m the same person as I was 12 or 13 years ago.”

He also says he still suffers nightmares of the firefight in July 2002 in Afghanistan in which he was almost killed before the Americans captured him.

The Canadian Press

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