CIFF: Guantanamo’s Child features first interview with Omar Khadr

By Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald

Published September 25, 2015

Khadr took part in a 20 minute long question and answer session following the film, which included prolonged standing ovations for the Edneys and for Khadr.

When asked how he managed to survive spending almost half his life incarerated, Khadr said he dealt the pain as it came, not allowing it to fester inside himself.

“I stopped putting faith in specific things,” he said. “I just looked at general things and one of those things is the goodness in people, and even if I was hurt by a particular person, I knew there was good behind that pain – so that could always help me and it made it easier for me (to live with it).”

Please view http://calgaryherald.com/entertainment/movies/ciff-guantanamos-child-features-first-interview-with-omar-khadr

EDMONTON - Omar Khadr on May 9, 2015, with his longtime Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney. Edney, along with his wife Patricia, have offered the 28-year-old their home while he is out on bay after nearly 13 years in prison. MICHELLE SHEPHARD/TORONTO STAR.

Bringing Omar Khadr’s Lawyer, Dennis Edney, to Montreal

Upcoming event: Talk Dennis Edney at McGill University’s Law Faculty, Montreal on October 21, 2015.

Dennis Edney Q.C., has spent more than a decade advocating on behalf of Omar Khadr, the youngest prisoner and last Western national to be released from Guantanamo Bay Prison. Omar, a 15 year old Canadian citizen at the time of his capture by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, also holds the dubious distinction of being the first person to be prosecuted by a military commission for purported war crimes he is claimed to have committed while still a child.

Mr. Edney’s legal victories (alongside co-counsel Nate Whitling) include: Omar’s repatriation back to Canada, three successful Supreme Court of Canada judgments regarding the violation of Omar’s legal rights, and more recently securing Omar’s release on bail while his Military Commission convictions are appealed in the United States. Mr. Edney and Mr. Whitling have defended Omar on a largely pro bono basis, reaching into their own pockets to represent Omar.

Perhaps even more controversial is the fact that Mr. Edney is more than Omar’s lawyer. One of the linchpins in securing Omar’s release from jail was the fact that Mr. Edney and his wife Patricia offered their home as Omar’s residence, something unheard of in legal circles. As a result, Omar now lives with the Edney family.

It seems only fitting that Mr. Edney, a Scottish soccer player turned lawyer, would be described as a thorn in the side of the Canadian government, which has continued to maintain that Omar is a dangerous terrorist. In contrast, Mr. Edney has remained steadfast that Omar is a victim of a system created in Guantanamo Bay to justify the use of torture, extensive human rights violations, secret evidence and illegal trials. He maintains that the Canadian government has being complicit in the systematic and flagrant abuses on one of its own citizens by failing to demand that the United States adhere to international laws.

A campaign has been launched to raise the funds necessary to bring Mr. Edney to McGill University’s Law Faculty, located at 3644 Peel on October 21, 2015. His talk will focus on the rule of law in an age of fear: how the post 9/11 climate of fear and insecurity has been exploited to justify long standing human rights violations carried out in the name of national security. This has led to an intense debate over where the balance lies between the rule of law, human rights and civil liberties on the one hand and security on the other. It is Mr. Edney’s position that if we do not get the balance right, we can fall into lawlessness. One has to look no further than Guantanamo Bay.

Mr. Edney has received a number of awards and distinctions including the National Pro Bono Award (2008), the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia’s Human Rights Medal (2009), the Gerald L. Gall award by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (2013), the Winnipeg Citizens Award (2014), the Rotary Club of Canada’s Paul Harris Fellowship (2014) and most recently a place among Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer in Criminal/ Human Rights Law (2015).

Should you wish to contribute to this campaign and/or attend the event please go to our Go Fund Me Page to find out more. Any funds collected over and above the necessary expenses for Mr. Edney visit will go entirely to Omar’s legal fund.

Jess Adley, Montreal.

Big Brother Is Watching | A Discussion of Bills C-51 and C-24

Sep 24, 2015
5:30PM to 7:00PM
@ Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

big-brother-watching-ar-250x0Ever wondered if the Canadian government is watching you? Curious what powers they’ve recently bestowed upon themselves? What does it mean for Indigenous sovereignty, pipeline resistance, Palestinian solidarity, and other forms of “radical” activism?

Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, includes expanded surveillance and intelligence sharing, a re-modelling of the Canadian no-fly regime in the US mode, expands the extraordinary powers of preventative detention and fundamentally redefines the role of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Bill C-24, the new Citizenship Act, creates a two-tiered citizenship regime that limits the citizenship rights of dual nationals who may have their Canadian citizenship revoked if they are convicted of certain serious crimes in Canada or abroad; it also allows for citizenship to be revoked if a naturalized Canadian decides to study, accept a job or move in with a romantic partner outside of Canada.

This talk will discuss key aspects of these new laws and how they are being challenged.

The talk will be presented by Micheal Vonn of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

ASL interpretation will be provided at this event.

This event is organized in partnership with SFPIRG, the Free Omar Khadr Now Campaign and the Seriously Free Speech Committee.

source: Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group

Schermafbeelding 2015-09-19 om 02.33.52

Happy Birthday Omar Khadr – “Finally Home”

The night before his 29th birthday Omar can finally say farewell to persistent reminders that he is not a free man.

Justice June Ross of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled on Friday September 18 that Omar can remove the electronic bracelet he has been wearing since his release from prison on May 7 this year, and that he is allowed to visit his family in Toronto.

She said that the conditions imposed on Omar were “unusually restrictive.”

The judge told Omar that when he will visit his grandparents in Toronto this fall, he must be joined by his lawyer and he has to meet with the authorities there.

Last week, Ross had already lifted Omar’s strict curfew conditions to make it possible for him to attend evening classes to become an emergency medical technician.

Before lifting many of the restrictions, the judge consulted with Omar’s bail supervisor who reported that Omar had met all his bail conditions up to now.

This was the deciding factor in the judge’s positive ruling on September 18.

To help Dennis Edney, Omar’s pro bono lawyer, in the ongoing legal battles please go to Free Omar Fund.

Omar Khadr Edmonton Court 2015 0911

Omar Khadr | Successful Court Decision to Lighten Bail Restrictions

Congratulations to Omar and his lawyers!

Today a first positive step has been set to alleviate Omar’s strict bail conditions.

Omar attended court today with two friends and took a seat in the front row. He listened to his two long time lawyers, Dennis Edney and Nate Whitling, who explained why their client wants his strict bail conditions changed.

Dennis Edney, one of Omar’s pro bono lawyers, said outside the Edmonton courtroom: “It allows Mr. Khadr to fully progress in some of the educational programs he’s attending. Night classes finish at 10 (p.m.). He would have to leave a night class earlier to satisfy the present curfew. Now the court is allowing him to be able to attend the night class and completely finish it, then make his way home in reasonable time.”

“Omar’s transition to life in freedom has been going great,” said Dennis Edney earlier this week. “Omar has been stopped by so many people in Edmonton who simply have said ‘welcome’”.

Justice June Ross immediately decided to lift Omar’s strict curfew conditions. Omar is studying emergency medical technician. In this way he will be allowed to attend evening classes and early morning prayers.

The judge has reserved her decision on Omar’s request to be able to visit his family and remove the monitoring bracelet.

For that Omar will be back in court next Friday.


Watch G&M video interview with Dennis Edney and Omar Khadr outside the courtroom.

Lawyers Omar Khadr in Court Today to Ease his Strict Bail Conditions

Omar Desires a Normal Life, Bail Conditions Relaxed

Omar’s pro bono lawyers, Dennis Edney and Nate Whitling, are in court today to argue for ease in his strict bail conditions.

Omar was finally granted bail on May 7, 2015 and tasted freedom for the first time in almost 13 years. In an affidavit, Omar says that re-entry has been “going great” and, “I have been embraced by many members of the community and made many new friends.” However, the ankle bracelet – a perpetual reminder that he is not a free man – which is part of his bail condition has caused him embarrassment (naturally) in public when it went off by itself.

After 13 years of wrongful imprisonment, Omar also wants to visit his family in Toronto, particularly his grandmother to whom he is very close to, and who is ill. Therefore Omar asks a Canadian court to ease his bail conditions so he can at least visit his family in Toronto; a natural desire to proceed towards a normal life.

Read the news articles:

Lawyers for Omar Khadr in court to argue for ease in bail conditions
The Canadian Press
September 11, 2015

Omar Khadr wants bail eased so he can fly to Toronto to visit family
Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
September 4, 2015

Khadr applies to have bail conditions relaxed
Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal
September 4, 2015

Please Donate to Help Challenge Bill-24

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association lawyers and Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers are taking the federal government to court (pro bono) to challenge Bill-24.

End Second-Class Citizenship.

Critics of the bill see it as another vindictive action by Harper which particularly targets Omar. The bill (came into law in June) allows the government to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens and those who are eligible for dual citizenship. Since Omar’s father was Egyptian, he is eligible. The bill creates a 2 tier Canadian citizenship system and needs strong opposition. Please sign the BCCLA petition and contribute to their fundraising campaign. They have supported various speaking events we have had in Vancouver for Omar and would appreciate our help!

To see how you can help and donate please click the link: http://equalcitizens.nationbuilder.com/#video

GUANTANAMO’S CHILD: OMAR KHADR | Trailer World Première, Toronto Film Festival 2015

The Untold Story Of Omar Khadr – documentary (80 min.)

Omar Khadr is finally free, though on strict bail conditions while an appeal of his US military commission conviction is underway. He has been behind bars for the last 13 years, without any evidence of guilt. Many human rights issues in the case remain unresolved.
a short history 
  • Omar (now 28) was born in Toronto.
  • In his youth, the family moved back and forth between Canada and Afghanistan, where his father worked as an aid worker,
  • On July 27, 2002, the house where his father had left Omar as a translator, was heavily bombed by U.S. forces. When found, barely alive under rubble, Omar was shot in the back and captured.
  • Months of brutal interrogations and torture followed during his captivity in Bagram.  Fifteen-year-old Omar was falsely accused and forced to confess to the killing of a U.S. soldier who fell during the battle.
  • October 2002, just 16, he was sent to Guantanamo, where he spent the next decade – often in solitary confinement.
  • On October 30, 2010, he was forced to plead guilty before a U.S. military commission in Guantanamo. He knew his only chance of getting out of there was to ‘confess’. The Guantanamo paradox: you had to lose to win. Those lucky enough to get charged and convicted got out.
  • The “crimes” he had to plead guilty to did not exist under Canadian, U.S. or international law. The Guantanamo court is not a real court as it is not internationally recognized. 
  • As a result, Omar is the only child ever convicted of a war crime and the only person convicted for any of the 7,000+ American casualties in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
  • On September 26, 2012, he was repatriated to Canada and placed in a maximum security prison.
  • On May 7, 2015, after almost 13 years of wrongful imprisonment, he was finally released on bail, pending the appeal of his Guantanamo ‘conviction’.

Excerpt from Omar Khadr: Out of the Shadows – the 40 min. version of the documentary.

2015 05 07 Omar Khadr 28

Canada: Justice Still Denied in Case of Omar Khadr

Amnesty Petition, July 2015

canada_omar_khadr_july_2015Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Omar Khadr is finally out on strict bail conditions while an appeal of his US military commission conviction is underway. Many human rights issues in the case remain unresolved. I urge the government of Canada to:

  • Investigate the credible and troubling allegations of torture and ill-treatment while Omar Khadr was detained in Bagram and Guantánamo Bay;
  • Recognize Omar Khadr as a child soldier in line with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict;
  • Acknowledge the grave human rights violations associated with the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, including the fact that the military commissions fall far short of international standards for fair trials;
  • Provide a remedy as required by the 2010 Supreme Court of Canada decision, particularly with a view to ensuring non-repetition of the human rights violations experienced by Omar Khadr;
  • Ensure that the Correctional Service of Canada is able to manage Omar Khadr’s case without political interference.



Please submit petition by December 2015 to:
Amnesty International Canada
312 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, ON K1N 1H9

Contact: hhomes@amnesty.ca

pdf of the Amnesty Petition: http://www.amnesty.ca/sites/default/files/canada_omar_khadr_july_2015.pdf