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TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FREE OMAR KHADR NOW 2015 FUND, you have the following options

  • 2) By Cheque, you can send to: Free Omar Khadr Now Committee; P.O. Box 57112 RPO; East Hastings Street, Vancouver; V5K 1Z0 B.C.; Canada. (Please enclose your email address)
  • 3) By Bank Deposit/Interac e-transfer: Free Omar Khadr Now Committee; VanCity Credit Union, Branch 13; Account number: 531590; FreeOmar.ca@gmail.com


A MESSAGE FROM DENNIS EDNEY Q.C., Lawyer for Omar Khadr   |   2015

Omar is now 28 years old and July 2015 will mark the 13th anniversary of his imprisonment.

In 2014 we were successful in persuading the Alberta Court of Appeal that Omar’s U.S. sentence was a juvenile sentence, and therefore he should be transferred to a provincial institution where he can access the benefits of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  

The Conservative government appealed the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal. In doing so, it continued a pattern of challenging every decision favourable to Omar Khadr over the past ten years which resulted in millions of dollars in costs at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. The Supreme Court will hear the appeal on May 14, 2015.

On March 24 and 25, 2015 a two day bail application was heard by the Queen’s Bench of Alberta. We requested Omar be released pending the outcome of his appeal in the United States. This application is opposed by the Conservative government on the basis Canadian courts lack jurisdiction. We are currently awaiting the judge’s decision on the bail application.

In June 2015, we will be applying for Omar’s parole. We have formally put the warden, David Pelham, on notice that he is obligated under the Act to make a security assessment of Omar. Refusal to do so makes Omar’s chances of parole somewhat grim. Both the Corrections ombudsman and Omar’s parole officer have recommended he be classified as a minimum risk.  
In the event Omar’s parole is denied, we will file for a judicial review of its decision. 

In addition to the above work, we continue to publicize Omar’s plight while fighting for his rights within the prison. 

Omar remains in the Bowden Institution, a medium security prison in Innisfail, Alberta. He is going blind from lack of treatment in Canadian detention.

The U.S. attack in 2002 left Omar blind in his left eye and with shrapnel lodged in his right eye. While in U.S. detention he was not provided treatment to save his sight. Now the vision in his right eye is rapidly deteriorating and without treatment, permanent blindness is inevitable.

Within days of filing a court application requesting that Omar receive immediate medical treatment for his right eye, we were informed that an appointment had been set up for Omar to see a specialist.

We continue to need your help and ask you to support the Free Omar Khadr 2015 fundraising campaign which has a goal of $50,000. This money goes directly to Omar’s defence with no administration fees.

Your contribution makes his defence possible.

 

With warm regards from Omar and myself,

Dennis Edney Q.C.


2015 05 07 Omar Khadr 28

Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows | CBC Doc – May 28, 9:00 PM EST

The CBC recently completed the documentary on Omar by adding the long awaited exclusive interview with him, recorded shortly after his release on May 7. The CBC Doc ‘Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows’ is directed by Patrick Reed (White Pine Pictures) and co-directed by Michelle Shephard (Toronto Star).
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 CBC promo:
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Omar Khadr Out of the Shadows


“In His Own Words: Omar Khadr | “I just wish for people to give me a chance”, by Michelle Shephard: http://projects.thestar.com/omar-khadr-in-his-own-words/index.html 

On CBC Radio, Anna Maria Tremonti from The Current speaks with Michelle Shephard about Omar’s first interview after his release on bail: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/omar-khadr-shares-his-story-in-out-of-the-shadows-documentary-may-28-2015-1.3090666?autoplay=true

Omar Khadr 3 – 0 Harper


Today the Supreme Court of Canada sided once again with Omar Khadr, in a unamimous ruling.
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By Hazel Gabe, Free Omar Khadr Now member, on location.
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In a rare quick decision from the bench, the supreme court confirmed the earlier order of the Alberta Court of Appeal that Omar should have been classified as a juvenile thereby serving his sentence in a provincial facility. The court went on to say that Omar should never have been treated as an adult or placed in a federal penitentiary. According to the ruling, Ottawa has made a grave mistake in its interpretation of the International Transfer of Offenders Act and should never have treated Omar thus.
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Omar’s ‘sentence’ in 2010, by an extrajudicial U.S. military commission at Guantanamo Bay, was widely denounced by legal experts and human rights organizations worldwide. However the sentence itself it was not under question today. The topic before the Supreme Court was how Omar should have been classified upon his return to Canada in 2012.
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The practical application of the ruling has to do with whether Omar’s sentence should have been served out in a federal prison, as the crown maintained, or in a provincial facility. An adult sentence would have meant that, if Omar were to return to prison, it would be to a federal penitentiary. Prior to being released on Bail, Omar was being held in a provincial facility outside Edmonton. But, initially Ottawa had placed him in a federal penitentiary-for several months in solitary confinement. It took a legal challenge of his adult classification status to seek transfer to a provincial facility, where he was able to access educational programs and opportunities.
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The International Transfer of Offenders Act and other treaties govern the transfer of prisoners between countries like the United States and Canada, so that sentences can be served out in a prisoner’s home country even if a sentence was administered abroad. This is the basis under which Canada continues to enforce the sentence imposed by the United States. Omar is currently challenging the charges against him in US courts. Other ex-Guantanamo prisoners have successfully challenged their charges in US civilian courts.
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Lawyers for the crown argued that Omar’s sentence should be considered adult, despite the fact that Omar was 15 at the time of the offences. But the court agreed with defense lawyers who stated that as Omar’s eight-year sentence falls under the maximum of life imprisonment for adults in Canada, it must be considered a juvenile sentence in this country.
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The ruling has no immediate effect on Omar as he is currently free on bail. However, it would be an important consideration if he were to return to prison. With this ruling he would be returned to a provincial prison as before, with access to rehabilitative programs. A lawyer for Amnesty International, who spoke at today’s hearing, pointed out that the more lenient route is congruent with international law, which makes special provision for children and children involved in armed conflict and stresses rehabilitation.
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Omar received his Guantanamo Bay sentence as part of a plea deal that would allow him to return to Canada. After 11 years in US custody, subjected to ongoing human rights abuses including torture, he was offered the deal as the only escape from indefinite imprisonment. The United States maintains the right to keep prisoners at Guantanamo Bay irrespective of rulings of innocence or guilt. Although the Military Commissions process does not follow basic legal principles, allows evidence obtained under torture and is not  legally comptenent to determine innocence or guilt, Omar has been forced to wrangle his way through Canadian courts for justice.
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This is Omar’s third victory in the Supreme Court, which has consistently ruled in his favour.
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2015 05 07 Omar Khadr 28

Meet the Real Omar Khadr


Omar’s First Statement to the Canadian Public


Next Legal Battles

At long last we are celebrating Omar’s release from prison. However, there are still legal battles ahead and the violation of Omar’s rights must be properly remedied. 
Our focus now should be on helping Omar’s lawyers with their mounting costs. 
Upcoming court challenges include:
  • May 14th – Supreme Court hearing – Federal government appeals Alberta Court’s decision that Omar is serving a Youth sentence;
  • September 2015 – Federal government’s appeal of Judge Ross’ decision to grant bail to Omar;
  • Ongoing appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review in U.S. to vacate all Guantanamo Bay “convictions”.
Please donate at www.freeomar.ca/donate/
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Write Omar

Many people are wanting to know how they can send cards or messages to Omar Khadr and Dennis Edney. For now, Dennis has requested that mail be sent to our group address: 
  •  freeomar.ca@gmail.com or
  • Free Omar Khadr Now Campaign, Box 57112, RPO E. Hastings, Vancouver, B.C. V5K1ZO
All messages and  letters will be forwarded to Omar and Dennis.

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Transcipt of the video: Omar Khadr speaks: ‘Freedom is way better than I thought’. The Star | May 07 2015


 
Mr Khadr you are FREE to go

Omar Khadr: Free At Last!

Free at last! To cheers in the courtroom, Judge Bielby announced Omar Khadr is free to go!
Today he will join the Edney family in their Edmonton home. Tonight he will enjoy his first home-cooked meal in 13 years.
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A large group of friends and supporters  were there to welcome Omar to Edmonton, his new home.
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In this letter to a member of the Free Omar Khadr Now group, Omar reveals his fondness and connection to the city where he will reside:
Since I’ve come to Edmonton I’ve been feeling more connected to this beautiful city and it’s wonderful people. Everytime I see somebody new or somebody writes to me I feel that I belong to Edmonton and that makes my heart warm. It’s a gratifying feeling to belong to a place and to know that you are cared about and thought of. For that I’m eternally grateful to you, the city of Edmonton and all its wonderful people.”
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Omar is joined in celebration by people across Canada and around the world who have advocated for justice, since the early days of his captivity in 2002.
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Like all other Canadian court decisions in Omar’s case, the judges have affirmed the rights and protections in our Charter and reinforced judicial independence – a fundamental principle of our democracy.
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While today is full of joy for Omar, it is not the end of his legal battles. There are still cases pending. An appeal in the U.S against his “charges” has a strong possibility of success, and a pending civil case against the Canadian government will likely be decided in his favour. But let’s leave those for another day.
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Today the Free Omar Khadr Now group celebrates Omar’s victory along with all those who struggle for human rights.
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We wish to acknowledge  the perserverance, diligence and brilliance of his lawyers, Nate Whitling and Dennis Edney.
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We extend our deepest respect to Omar Khadr for the dignity and strength he has maintained throughout the years of this horrendous ordeal.

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Contact:  freeomar.ca@gmail.com
Website: freeomar.ca
Fundraising Campaign to support legal expenses: http://freeomar.ca/donate/
Statement Dennis Edney, lawyer Omar Khadr, after the ruling:

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Public Reaction to Government Appeal Against Omar’s Bail Decision


Free Omar Khadr Now received the following messages from the public (watch this space for continuous updates)


Friends: on April 24 I sent  you a copy of a letter I had written to Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety (I think that was Robespierre’s title during the Reign of Terror during the French revolution, when he sent hundreds to the guillotine). In that letter I protested the government announcement that it would appeal the decision of Judge June Ross to grant bail to Omar Khadr.

However, in spite of my letter (!), the wretched government is going ahead with its appeal. Even so, it is vulnerable to the expression of public concern. Please write Steven Blaney yourself (steven.blaney@parl.gc.ca), demanding that it abandon its appeal, and send the media release from Omar’s support team to everyone in your address book or on your e-lists.
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“The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
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– Donald Grayston, retired Anglican church Minister and Professor at Simon Fraser University
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Highly disappointing but not surprising, purely vindictive & nonsensical – and the Cons beat goes on…  
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The community support & release plan in place for Mr. Khadr is as solid as any release plan I’ve seen throughout my nearly thirty years of experience(s) – combined with negligible risk to public safety. This is yet another display of the Conservative government’s absolute disregard of Canadian law, and sensibility. when court decisions do not ‘measure up’ to their brand of ideology. Why is this government so determined to interfere with our courts decisions – the facts in this case speak for themselves. This gentleman has endured more than enough torture, it is time for justice to prevail – Release Omar Khadr!
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– Lee Chapelle, President of Canadian Prison Consulting Inc.
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It is time for the Canadian government to abandon its shameful and unacceptable vilification of Omar, and to accept Justice Ross’s ruling. The decision to appeal should be dropped, and Omar allowed to begin to rebuild his life free of a prison’s walls.
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– Andy Worthington, historian, investigative journalist, author of Guantanamo Files
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Another horrendous blow for #OmarKhadr and #Canadian #democracy. Shame on you @pmharper you tarnish our #humanrights
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– Annie Hylton, international human rights lawyer

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Another Blow for Omar Khadr and Canadian Democracy

MEDIA RELEASE: May 04, 2015

Thank you for contacting the Free Omar Khadr Now Campaign. We have prepared the following statement in response to the government’s latest attempt to delay justice for Omar Khadr.


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The Free Omar Khadr Now Campaign, along with many fair-minded Canadians continue to hope that tomorrow Omar Khadr will be free on bail. He has been illegally imprisoned since the age of 15 and his case has cried out for justice since 2002.
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Unfortunately, the government is seeking to secure a delay in his release by appealing Judge Ross’  decision.
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The government’s unrelenting vilification of Omar and their “knee jerk” appeal  of every  court decision has prolonged his twelve-year struggle for justice. Judge Ross confirmed that Omar Khadr is a “model prisoner”, has great community support and is likely to win the U.S. appeal to overturn all ‘convictions’.
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Despite this, the government continues to spread baseless lies linking Omar to “jihadism”  and in so doing, inflicts great personal injury.
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The rights, freedom and liberties of all Canadians are diminished by the actions of this government.
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We extend our deepest respect to Omar Khadr for the dignity and strength he has maintained throughout the years of this horrendous ordeal.
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For more information, please visit freeomar.ca
You may contact us at: freeomar.ca@gmail.com
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15 | wounded-hanging-from-his-wrists

Omar Khadr was waterboarded as Canadian government moves to prevent his release on bail

Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal, has written on May 3:


“With last-minute legal manoeuvres, the federal government will try to prevent the release of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr on bail on Tuesday in an Edmonton courtroom.

Edney also revealed for the first time that despite his young age when imprisoned, Khadr underwent the controversial torture of waterboarding or simulated drowning during his time in the U.S military prison in Guantanamo Bay. He also underwent three weeks of intense sleep deprivation, before Canadian officials interrogated him.

Khadr reported several abuses, including sleep deprivation, stress positions and being hung by his arms for extended periods of time, Edney said.

Corrections Canada recently reclassified him as a minimum security prisoner. He is eligible for a parole hearing in June.

Edney is eager to see his client enjoying his freedom.

“I’m just thinking how he wants to ride a bike, go swimming, ordinary things in life,” said Edney who has been Khadr’s lawyer for more than a decade.”



For facts and sources  in the Omar Khadr case see: FACTSHEET OMAR KHADR | Omar’s Long Journey Towards Freedom


Omar Khadr Changed My Life

By Sara Naqwi – Free Omar Khadr Now


In helping edit this article, a personal note of deep gratitude to Marlene Cuthbert, who was passionate and completely devoted to seeing justice brought to her friend, Omar, until her last days.
Marlene passed away on March 25, 2015.


I was twenty-five years old when I first saw Omar Khadr’s young face, staring back at me through my laptop screen. The innocence in his big brown eyes combined with the sombre expression drew me in; the straight-backed posture which is typically alien on a teenager confirmed he was staring into the lens of a camera for a passport photo, perhaps being told by the cameraman to remain expressionless, yet the photograph still captured his cheerful disposition. There was a trace of a faint moustache on his baby face, with a hint of a smile in his eyes and mouth. This was a photograph of a young boy, who was barely fourteen years old.

I was completing my final year of Bachelors in English from a Canadian university and had decided to take a course, “Introduction to Law and Justice”, out of curiosity. One of the assignments I was asked to write about was on Omar Khadr’s case, and that is how I came to know about the young man who was to become an integral part of my life eventually. When I scanned the details of his case online, I was overwhelmed by the amount of heavy information revolving around this child. The words Guantanamo Bay, torture, war on terror, indefinite detention combined with the images of hooded men in orange jumpsuits, chained like animals and caged under the blazing sun in Cuba, where the prison is based, confounded me. I knew it was wrong – who wouldn’t be horrified by this abnormal treatment of human beings? – but I couldn’t fully appreciate the gravity of the situation. Even though I was aware of how Muslims had suddenly become targets of racism since 9/11, and Continue reading