Why is Omar Khadr still Detained? Because They Can

The full Omar Khadr Story explained | by Heather Marsh

In this interview, Free Omar Khadr Now-member Heather Marsh, provides all necessary background and research for listeners to become fully informed about the case of Omar Khadr:

 

This case continues to test the Canadian government’s respect for the rule of law, its democratic institutions, and the rights of citizens. Every day that Omar Khadr is imprisoned, the Government of Canada is breaking multiple laws, treaties and agreements it has signed.

Heather exposes the lies and misinformation that are routinely spread by both the Canadian government and some members of the media.

On a personal level, we learn about Omar Khadr, a young man who has been tortured since age 15, illegally imprisoned for 13 years and denied fundamental legal and human rights. He is now going blind in a Canadian prison and will never see the land of his dreams again. Heather shares how he manages to cope with the nightmare he is forced to live.


source: Blogtalkradio.com/CanadianGlen | January 15, 2015, The View Up Here


Thank you for joining us in the struggle for justice and freedom,

The FREE Omar Khadr Now Campaign

2014 11 30 - fokn nw logo

 

 

 

E freeomarkhadrnow@gmail.com
W http://www.freeomarakhadr.com
FB please follow: Free Omar Khadr Now

“Some cases enshrine the defining moments of their time. Omar Khadr’s is one. Future generations will rightly judge our shocking dereliction of responsibility in this matter [and] our collective Canadian failure to extend justice and humanity.” – Constance Backhouse, Distinguished University Professor of Law, University of Ottawa.


 

Twitterstorm #IsThisWhoWeAre | 13 years Guantanamo Bay | Free Omar Khadr Now

January 11, 2015 marks the 13th Guantanamo anniversary and let’s hope it’s the last one!

Free Omar Khadr Now are holding a TWITTERSTORM (at 4 pm EST, 5 pm EDT, 9 pm GMT) using the hashtag #IsThisWhoWeAre in conjunction with London Guantanamo Campaign.

In speeches since 2007, Obama has changed his rhetoric time and again, therefore many tweets will address all those broken promises…..

We also address Harper, who continues Omar’s 13-year nightmare with his ongoing imprisonment in Canadian detention. Harper invokes the unlawful, incriminating statements that the 15-year-old Omar was forced to make, after being severely tortured in the U.S. black sites.

If you can join the TWITTERSTORM, the prepared tweets are [ linked here ] and while we’d like it to trend at 4 pm EST, 5 pm EDT, 9 pm GMT for one hour, please feel free to use the tweets throughout the day and if other events are going on at that time please use the hashtag and share pictures/etc.

 

Thank you for joining us in the struggle for justice and freedom,

The FREE Omar Khadr Now Campaign


2014 11 30 - fokn nw logo

 

 

 

E freeomarkhadrnow@gmail.com
W http://www.freeomarakhadr.com
FB please follow: Free Omar Khadr Now

“Some cases enshrine the defining moments of their time. Omar Khadr’s is one. Future generations will rightly judge our shocking dereliction of responsibility in this matter [and] our collective Canadian failure to extend justice and humanity.” – Constance Backhouse, Distinguished University Professor of Law, University of Ottawa.


 

New Year’s Greetings from Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr letters and cards QuebecDear friends and supporters,

From his cell in Bowden institution Omar sends his sincere gratitude to you for your unwavering support for him. He specifically asked us to pass his heartfelt New Year’s greetings to you all.

He has been overwhelmed (both figuratively and literally) by the volume of mail he has received over the last couple of weeks – he estimates he has received over 500 pieces of correspondence with many more that did not get through because of Corrections Canada restrictions on certain types of paper and cards.

As you all know, his eyesight is not good right now, but he has a couple of friends at Bowden who are slowly helping him read through the mail and it is a wonderful encouragement for him to know that there are so many caring people out there.

Omar was especially moved by the piles of letters and cards from Quebec and Nova Scotia, where there seems to be a particularly large groundswell of support, especially from students.

 

We are convinced that you all join us in the hope and prayer that Omar’s next New Year’s celebration will be from outside the prison walls.

On behalf of Omar Khadr,
The FREE OMAR KHADR NOW-campaign

 


 

Canada’s war on terror has a Catch-22 absurdity: Walkom

By Thomas Walkom | Fri Dec 19 2014, Toronto Star

Excerpt: 

Finally, Omar Khadr. Could anyone be more Catch-22?

Khadr is the Canadian sent by his father to fight for the Taliban. At the age of 15, he was captured by the Americans. At Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. military court convicted him of war crimes.

Why was it a war crime for Khadr to shoot at U.S. soldiers and not a war crime for them to shoot at him? Answer: Catch-22.

The U.S. government ruled that any soldier fighting for the Taliban was, by definition, a war criminal.

The Harper government is keeping Khadr in prison in Canada because it is politically convenient to do so. He is going blind.

In 20 years, it will be the common wisdom that Khadr was badly mistreated. He will receive a public apology and a large cash settlement. The war on terror will be deemed a time of collective madness.

But now he — and we — are caught in that madness. Little makes sense.

 


Read full article: Canada’s war on terror has a Catch-22 absurdity: Walkom | Fri Dec 19 2014, Toronto Star


 

Omar Khadr turning blind by lack of treatment in Canadian prison

27 Omar Khadr

During the past 3 months, the vision in Omar’s right eye has been rapidly deteriorating. He is no longer able to read and his studies have been put on hold. Omar is already blind in his left eye as a result of the US attack on a compound in Afghanistan and the cruel treatment he received in the US torture prisons Bagram and Guantanamo Bay.

Omar has a cataract in his right eye caused by shrapnel lodged in it. This is treatable, but will only get worse if left untreated. It is distressing that he has not received timely medical attention and follow-up that his condition requires, and Corrections Canada has delayed till Omar is no longer able to read or continue his studies. The mandate of Corrections Canada is to provide “every inmate with essential health care“. Omar does not receive essential health care.

Since Omar’s return to Canada, political interference has had unfortunate and damaging consequences. Without treatment his loss of vision may be imminent. Denial of medical treatment while his eyesight is rapidly failing is cruel and heartless. Since his torture by the United States, including waterboarding at the age of 15  (also see “CIA Torture report“), he is not in a better place on Canadian soil.

We ask Omar’s supporters to continue writing to him, as his friends will read his letters to him.

We strongly recommend that people write immediately to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney urging him to ensure Omar Khadr receives eye surgery quickly. steven.blaney@parl.gc.ca


Related:


Address Omar Khadr:

Omar Khadr
Bowden Institution, Unit #3
Highway #2
PO Box 6000
Innisfail, Alberta
T4G 1V1
Canada

[+] Dos and don’ts for sending letters to Omar


Newsletter Free Omar Khadr Now | November 2014


November 2014 articles in the media about Omar :


Complicity in torture?

By Justin Ling | November 18, 2014

Complicity in torture?

How Omar Khadr is trying to prove that the Canadian Government conspired with the U.S. to deny him his rights.

Read article: http://www.nationalmagazine.ca/Articles/November-2014-Web/Complicity-in-torture.aspx


Tortured and forgotten – Omar Khadr’s plight for justice

By Daniel Martin | November 17, 2014

Omar Khadr

When will Khadr’s calls for human rights to be taken seriously be enacted by the government and by the people? It is a failure on our part and one that must be rectified immediately.

The assumption that human rights are something that only certain groups can have should be thrown into the cellar. Any individual in any society and country can experience human rights abuses.

Read article: http://trentarthur.ca/tortured-and-forgotten-omar-khadrs-plight-for-justice/


Ten years after the Arar Inquiry, what has changed?

By Monia Mazigh | November 14, 2014

Photo: Jamie McCaffrey/flickr

This column is adapted from a speech delivered by Monia Mazigh at the conference “Arar+10: National Security and Human Rights a Decade Later” on October 29, 2014.

Read article: http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/11/ten-years-after-arar-inquiry-what-has-changed


Growing Up Guantanamo

By Andrea Jones | November 11, 2014

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr, born in Toronto, was also shipped to the offshore prison as a juvenile. The 16-year-old made an early impression on the Army chaplain on base, who, walking by his cell, found Omar curled up asleep, arms wrapped tightly around a Disney book with drawings of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. “He definitely seemed out of place,” the chaplain told reporter Michelle Shephard, who wrote about Omar in her book Guantánamo’s Child.​

Read article: http://www.vice.com/read/growing-up-guantanamo-472


(In Dutch) Opgroeien in Guantanamo

By Andrea Jones | November 18, 2014

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr, geboren in Toronto, werd ook als puber naar Guantánamo verscheept. Toen hij zestien jaar was, maakte hij een onuitwisbare indruk op de kapelaan van de gevangenis in Guantánamo Bay. De pastoor zag hem slapen in zijn cel, opgerold met een Disney-kleurboek in zijn armen. “Hij viel zeker uit de toon,” zei de kapelaan tegen Michelle Shephard, die over Omar schreef in het boek Guantánamo’s Child.

Lees artikel: http://www.vice.com/nl/read/growing-up-guantanamo-472


Khadr argues U.S. judge violating federal law

By Colin Perkel — Nov 6 2014

TORONTO – The judge presiding over Omar Khadr’s challenge to his conviction by U.S. military commission may himself be committing a federal crime by maintaining a law practice, according to allegations contained in new court documents.

In an unusual application to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week, lawyers for the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner call for Judge William (Bill) Pollard to be thrown off the panel dealing with the Canadian’s appeal.

They argue that two federal statutes — one dating back 200 years — clearly prohibit a judge from continuing to work as a lawyer.

“Khadr has a right to a properly qualified court,” Sam Morison, Khadr’s Pentagon-appointed lawyer, said from Washington.

“If there’s a disqualified judge, that undermines any decision that they make.”

Read the full article here > http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/11/06/khadr-argues-u-s-judge-violating-federal-law/#.VFyQGPnF8Tu

Op-ed by Omar Khadr on National Security & Human Rights

Op-ed by Omar Khadr, Bowden Prison Canada | 2014 10 28

27 Omar KhadrTen years ago the Canadian government established a judicial inquiry into the case of Maher Arar. That inquiry, over the course of more than two years of ground-breaking work, examined how Canada’s post-Sept. 11 security practices led to serious human rights violations, including torture.

At that same time, 10 years ago and far away from a Canadian hearing room, I was mired in a nightmare of injustice, insidiously linked to national security. I have not yet escaped from that nightmare.

As Canada once again grapples with concerns about terrorism, my experience stands as a cautionary reminder. Security laws and practices that are excessive, misguided or tainted by prejudice can have a devastating human toll.

A conference Wednesday in Ottawa, convened by Amnesty International, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and the University of Ottawa, will reflect on these past 10 years of national security and human rights. I will be watching, hoping that an avenue opens to leave my decade of injustice behind.

I was apprehended by U.S. forces during a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002. I was only 15 years old at the time, propelled into the middle of armed conflict I did not understand or want. I was detained first at the notorious U.S. air base at Bagram, Afghanistan; and then I was imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for close to 10 years. I have now been held in Canadian jails for the past two years.

From the very beginning, to this day, I have never been accorded the protection I deserve as a child soldier. And I have been through so many other human rights violations. I was held for years without being charged. I have been tortured and ill-treated. I have suffered through harsh prison conditions. And I went through an unfair trial process that sometimes felt like it would never end.

I am now halfway through serving an eight-year prison sentence imposed by a Guantánamo military commission; a process that has been decried as deeply unfair by UN human rights experts. That sentence is part of a plea deal I accepted in 2010.

Remarkably, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided in my favour on two separate occasions; unanimously both times. Over the years, in fact, I have turned to Canadian courts on many occasions, and they have almost always sided with me. That includes the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Alberta Court of Appeal.

In its second judgement, the Supreme Court found that Canadian officials violated the Charter of Rights when they interrogated me at Guantánamo Bay, knowing that I had been subjected to debilitating sleep deprivation through the notorious ‘frequent flyer’ program. The Court concluded that to interrogate a youth in those circumstances, without legal counsel, “offended the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.” That ruling was almost five years ago.

I had assumed that a forceful Supreme Court ruling, coming on top of an earlier Supreme Court win, would guarantee justice. Quite the contrary, it seemed to only unleash more injustice.

Rather than remedy the violation, the government delayed my return from Guantánamo to Canada for a year and aggressively opposed my request not to be held in a maximum security prison. It is appealing a recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision that I should be dealt with as a juvenile under the International Transfer of Offenders Act.

No matter how convincingly and frequently Canadian courts side with me, the government remains determined to deny me my rights.

I will not give up. I have a fundamental right to redress for what I have experienced.

But this isn’t just about me. I want accountability to ensure others will be spared the torment I have been through; and the suffering I continue to endure.

I hope that my experience – of 10 years ago and today – will be kept in mind as the government, Parliament and Canadians weigh new measures designed to boost national security. Canadians cannot settle for the easy rhetoric of affirming that human rights and civil liberties matter. There must be concrete action to ensure that rights are protected in our approach to national security.

National security laws and policies must live up to our national and international human rights obligations. I have come to realize how precious those obligations are.

That is particularly important when it comes to complicity in torture, which is unconditionally banned.

I have also seen how much of a gap there is in Canada when it comes to meaningful oversight of national security activities, to prevent violations.

And I certainly appreciate the importance of there being justice and accountability when violations occur.

I want to trust that the response to last week’s attacks will not once again leave human rights behind. Solid proof of that intention would be for the government to, at a minimum, end and redress the violations I have endured.


Originally published: Khadr: Misguided security laws take a human toll by Omar Khadr, Ottawa Citizen | 2014 10 28

Written in the context of the event: Arar +10: National Security and Human Rights a Decade Later | 2014 10 29


Omar Khadr wins right to sue government for conspiring with US to torture him

The recent decision of Justice Mosley approving Omar’s Amended Statement of Claim (technically the Amended, Amended, Amended Fresh as Amended) marks a recognition that the acts of Canada in relation to Omar’s treatment in Guantanamo Bay need a far greater level of scrutiny than we had previously considered.27 Omar Khadr

To be clear, Justice Mosley’s approval of the Amended Statement of Claim makes no decision about whether or not Canada acted badly in its dealings with Omar while he was captive. But while the earlier versions of the Claim focused on the events surrounding Omar’s interrogation at the hands of Canadian officials, the new version looks back to when Omar was first captured, and includes the time right up to his return to Canada.

This opens up the door to a much broader evaluation of Canada’s actions and will allow the court to answer fundamental questions about the relationship between Canada and the US. Was there a conspiracy to hold Omar captive or to otherwise abuse his rights? Did Canada have a responsibility to pay closer attention to Omar’s treatment while in Guantanamo Bay? Did Canada have a duty not to assist the US authorities’ prosecution of Omar? These and other questions will now be in front of the Court as this case goes forward.

This success is not the end of the story. But perhaps with this new Statement of Claim we are one step closer to getting a full telling of Omar’s time from capture to today and the extent to which our Government participated in that process.

A copy of the Order of Justice Mosley can be found by clicking the following link: Khadr v. Canada, October 23, 2014


Source: Khadr’s Amended Statement of Claim Receives Court Sanction by Phillips Gill LLP | 2014 Oct 24


More on the matterOmar Khadr wins right to to expand $20M suit vs. Canadian government by Colin Perkel, Canadian Press | 2014 Oct 23


 

The Education of Omar Khadr

In the November issue of Walrus magazine, readers can learn more about the personal life of Omar Khadr through the eyes of his volunteer teachers, in particular Arlette Zinck, Professor of English from Kings College University Edmonton. Up to now, Canadians have never hear Khadr tell his own story as the Canadian government has refused all requests from the media to interview him.

Here are a few excerpts from that article:

“Also out of the ordinary that day: the teacher-student roles had been reversed, and Khadr was instructing Zinck. The prisoner had a math final coming up, one of three remaining grade eleven courses, and he needed practice. “He’s a natural science guy,” she explained a few weeks later, when I met her at her house. Math energizes him; it is a more purposeful and logical discipline than literature, sociology, or law. Zinck, on the other hand, is more comfortable discussing John Bunyan and William Shakespeare—“How absolute the knave is!”—rather than absolute numbers”

“She soaked the lessons in CanLit classics, representing every province and territory—from BC’s Obasan, Joy Kogawa’s story of Japanese internment camp survivors, to PEI’s Anne of Green Gables . “If you’re dreaming of home,” she said, “we’ll structure it around a collection of novels about home.”.

“If he were a university student of mine, he would be in the top 5 percent,” said David Goa, director of the University of Alberta’s Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life. Zinck asked Goa to teach the prisoner-student about the intersections of faith and science. “I left thinking that this young man, somehow, by the grace of God, has turned prison into a monastery,” Goa recalled.


Read the full article by Omar Mouallem in the November issue of Walrus magazine: The Education of Omar Khadr: A student and teacher cultivate an unlikely friendship