Canadian Arab freed from Guantanamo says he spied for US
CAIRO: A Canadian Arab freed from a US prison at Guantanamo Bay said on Wednesday that he spied on fellow detainees to secure his release.
Abdulrahman Khadr, 21, was released in October from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where the US military had held him for more than a year after he was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001.
“The Americans interrogated me and found me ready to work for them because I had problems with Al Qaeda,” Khadr told the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya, referring to the terror group that was based in Afghanistan.
He spoke from Toronto in a linkup with the channel’s studio in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Asked why he was telling his story now, Khadr replied: “I thought that it is better to open my heart and tell the people what had happened to me.” Khadr said he spied because he could see no other way out of the prison, where the detainees have been denied access to lawyers until they go on trial in military courts.
“All that time I was trying to get out of this world (Afghanistan) and go back to my life in Canada,” Khadr said. “They (the Americans) told me that working for them was the only way to get out of prison.”
Khadr said he never fought for the Al Qaeda terror group, but he had attended military training in their camps.
“I was not interested in the training. My father always used to ask me to go, but I used to flee,” he said.
His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, a Canadian born in Egypt, was arrested in Pakistan in 1995 after the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad was bombed. He was later released.
Khadr said people in Afghanistan knew he was the son of Ahmed Said Khadr. Last year Arab media reported his father had been killed in a gun battle in Pakistan. Khadr didn’t mention his father’s death in the interview.
Khadr said he was captured unarmed in Afghanistan by the US-backed Northern Alliance, who detained him for 45 days and handed him over to the Americans.
He said the Americans first wanted him to work in Afghanistan, but “they changed their mind and sent me to Cuba.” —AP