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Omar Khadr tells Al Jazeera his Guantanamo story

Omar Khadr tells Al Jazeera his Guantanamo story

• In his first interview since release, Khadr says he wants to move on

• Uses interview to recall his Guantanamo experience of 13 years

Doha - 29th May, 2015

For Immediate Distribution

Omar Khadr, the former Guantanamo detainee in his first full-length interview since being released from a Canadian prison 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, in his first interview talks about his arrest in Afghanistan who at the age of 15 then spent a decade 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 7th June at 20.00 GMTand CBC on Thursday 28th May at 9pm Canadian time.

Released on bail on May 7 while he appeals his US military conviction, Khadr says he worries whether his new freedom is going to last or wonders if he is “just hungry to experience everything all at once.” But 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, he says: “I’ve been in Guantanamo for 10 years and if there’s any place where I was going to be brainwashed 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 want 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 fire fight 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 KHADR airs on AJE Sunday 7th June at 20:00GMT


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