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Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr speaks in at child soldiers panel

Jeremy MacKenzie, right, a Canadian military veteran who served in Afghanistan, talks with an unidentified woman outside the venue where Omar Khadr, the former child soldier is speaking in Halifax on Monday, February 10, 2020. The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, in partnership with Dalhousie University's Open Dialogue series, is hosting the event with keynote speakers Khadr and Ishmael Beah. Several veterans gathered outside the facility as a protest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr has made a rare public speaking appearance in Halifax.

Khadr was part of a panel discussion Monday night on child soldiers hosted by the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

He told a large audience at Dalhousie University that he believes he has a role to play in the world although he’s still not quite sure exactly what form it will take.

As a 15-year-old in Afghanistan, Khadr was captured and badly wounded in July 2002 and was accused of killing a U.S. soldier and injuring another.

He was held at Guantanamo Bay Cuba and was returned to Canada in 2013.

Now 33, Khadr says he’s been in survival mode for the last 17 years and he called the Dallaire Initiative discussion a safe place to be with people who “understand people like myself.” 

Khadr says he hopes people can make a fair judgment of who he has become as a person.

This report by The Canadian Press first published Feb. 10, 2020.

The Canadian Press