|In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, Omar Khadr attends a hearing in the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba on April 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Janet Hamlin/Pool)
VANCOUVER -- A British Columbia philanthropist plans on leaving convicted terrorist Omar Khadr money in his will.
Salt Spring Island, B.C., resident Jack Hallam, 84, has put $700 towards an education for the 26-year-old who has been sent back to Canada after spending 10 years in Guantanamo Bay.
“I have been concerned about the underdog in situations,” Hallam said from his home Sunday. “From what I have read he wants to finish his education, he wants to be a doctor, he might become a paramedic. The $700 may buy him a few textbooks.”
The gift has garnered a lot of attention over the past few days. Hallam said most of the reaction has been positive although one caller to his home rudely demanded Hallam give him money as well.
This isn’t the only gift Hallam has given to young people hoping to pursue education, with bursaries currently endowed at Lakehead University, Brock University and the University of Toronto. He plans on leaving money in his will to more than 40 organizations.
“I don’t believe Omar Khadr got a fair trial; he got horrible treatment. I think the trial in the United States was a trumped up kangaroo court,” Hallam said.
In October 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty in Guantanamo Bay to five war crimes, including the murder of combat medic Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer.
Khadr, who was born in Toronto, was granted a request to serve the rest of his sentence in Canada.
Hallam expects the money will have to be sent to Khadr’s lawyers because once he is released from Millhaven prison in Kingston, Ont., his location will be kept from the public.
“I don’t think I will ever meet him. I did send him an e-mail, but I haven’t had a response,” Hallam said.
Khadr’s transfer was met by huge opposition and several donations to Speer’s family in a campaign spurred by Sun News Network host Ezra Levant. So far, more than $30,000 has been donated.