Omar Khadr in Edmonton court, has bail conditions relaxed

We are delighted to announce that on Thursday, May 5, Omar celebrated the first anniversary of his being let out on bail by having several release conditions removed or relaxed. “Happy anniversary,” said Justice Ross at the conclusion of the hearing.

Read more: http://edmontonjournal.com/news/crime/omar-khadr-in-edmonton-court-has-bail-conditions-relaxed

Congratulations, Omar & Muna!

Free Omar is delighted with the news of the engagement of their dear friends Omar Khadr and Muna Abougoush. The outpouring of love from the global community is heartwarming. Muna is a longtime Free Omar activist and remained Omar’s faithful friend after his repatriation to Canada. May their union be filled with much deserved joy and peace. After all, every person longs for peace at the start and continuation of their marriage. However, justice for Omar has still not been achieved and the journey is long, unless your support strengthens.

Free Omar requests you to take part in the Letter Writing Campaign to the Canadian government. A few moments of your time will help bring justice more quickly to Omar, and will be a wonderful gift from you to the young couple.

LWC: https://freeomar.ca/2016/04/04/letter-writing-campaign/

Omar Khadr has still not received his justice

Gerald Caplan is a rare Canadian journalist who tried to hold the government accountable for their treatment of Omar during the long years of his terrible journey.

Mr. Caplan’s latest column encourages people to participate in the Free Omar Letter Writing Campaign for the settlement of Omar’s 2004 civil suit: “Now I hope thousands of Canadians go to www.freeOmar.ca and demand that their government offer Mr. Khadr the justice he deserves for the many years of his life that they wickedly stole from him.”

 Read full article here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/…/omar-khad…/article29668916

Letter Writing Campaign: https://freeomar.ca/2016/04/04/letter-writing-campaign/ 

Our obligation to Omar Khadr

Our obligation to Omar KhadrThe federal government recently announced they would not proceed with the Conservative government’s appeal of Omar Khadr’s release on bail. There was a collective sigh of relief from those who have followed his tragic case.

Although Omar is no longer in prison, Canadians cannot be complacent. We must question how we allowed such a gross travesty of justice to occur; how, for over a decade, we sanctioned or acquiesced to the most serious violation of a citizen’s rights and to the torture and abuse of a child.

A letter writing campaign launched by the Free Omar Khadr Committee calls on the Canadian government to finally address our obligation to Omar.

Our individual liberties and equality before the law depend on the universal enforcement of rights and remedies for violations. Violations of those rights must be remedied; otherwise rights protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international treaties are meaningless.

In 2004 a civil claim was filed against the Canadian government seeking compensation for the violations of Omar’s protected rights due to the actions of Canadian authorities and the participation of Canadian officials in his torture and abuse in the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Rather than accepting the conclusion of the Supreme Court that Canadian officials were complicit in the human rights violations suffered while Omar was detained in Guantánamo, the Canadian government, at taxpayer’s expense, persistently has fought Omar’s legal team at every level of court — only to lose each and every time.

A settlement of the civil suit is long overdue. It is urgent that our government provide redress to Omar for the 13 years of suffering caused to him by Canada.
Canada must also launch a commission of inquiry into the actions of Canadian authorities in the human rights abuses Omar suffered during his illegitimate imprisonment by the U.S.

A series of Canadian governments (both Liberal and Conservative) from 2002-2016 stand accused of being complicit in the violation of virtually all Omar’s Charter rights and have contravened Canada’s duty to protect rights under the Convention against Torture, the Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Successful court challenges launched by Omar’s legal team in both Canadian and U.S. courts reveal the scope of the injustice:

    • the U.S. Supreme Court (2006) ruled that the U.S. Pentagon military commissions which “charged” and “sentenced” Omar were unconstitutional;
    • the Supreme Court of Canada (2008) ruled that the conduct of Canadian interrogators violated Omar’s fundamental human rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and principles of fundamental justice;
    • the Federal Court ruled (2005) that Canadian agencies (including CSIS) had violated Omar’s Charter rights by turning information obtained by torture over to his U.S. captors to be used against him in his “trial”;
    • the Federal Court of Appeal ordered (2009) Canada to arrange for Omar’s immediate return (an order ignored by the federal government);
    • the Alberta Appeal Court ruled (2015) that Omar should not have been placed in a federal penitentiary upon his repatriation to Canada. Furthermore, the judgment highlighted the illegitimacy of the Guantánamo military tribunal, stating “…the evidence against [Khadr] would have been excluded in a Canadian court. The legal process under which [Khadr] was held and the evidence elicited from him have been found to have violated both the Charter and international human rights law…”.

The United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) recommended in July 2012 that Canada “ensure that [Omar Khadr] receives appropriate redress for human rights violations that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled he experienced.”

The remedial action required has been outlined by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LWRC) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group in their 2012 report to the UNCAT on the Omar Khadr case in which the numerous contraventions of obligations by Canada were identified.

LRWC identified Canada’s duties under the Convention against Torture to: fullyinvestigate the torture and ill-treatment of Omar Khadr; punish those responsible; and adopt effective measures to prevent further occurrences. According to LRWC: “The continuing failure to prevent, investigate and punish the torture and ill-treatment in the Omar Khadr case not only constitutes a continuing violation of the rights of Omar Khadr, but also encourages and enhances the danger of torture by state and non-state actors alike.”

The UN Committee Against Torture has posed the question: “Has Omar Khadr received appropriate redress for the human rights violations that he suffered, as ruled by the Canadian Supreme Court?” Until our government takes that responsibility, our obligation to Omar must continue.


Kathleen Copps is a retired B.C. teacher and member of the Free Omar Khadr Committee.
Photo: Free Omar Khadr Committee


 

Publication on Rabble.ca: http://rabble.ca/news/2016/04/our-obligation-to-omar-khadr


 

 

 

In Loving Memory of Afroze Ali


The Free Omar committee is grieved to share the news of the passing of our dear friend, Afroze Ali, who left us on Sunday, April 10, in Toronto.

It is a great loss to her family and all who knew and loved her and a difficult time for those of us who worked so closely with Afroze in pursuit of justice for Omar.

With her strong spirit, and passion for righteousness, rectitude and truth, she worked tirelessly for the Free Omar campaign, never wavering in her dedication, even as her health deteriorated. She contributed essentially to its progress over the years.

Her loss is felt in waves across the globe and her friends are in deep mourning for her family’s beloved member. Free Omar would like to personally offer condolences to her parents and two sons, whom she spoke of with great love always.

Rest in peace dearest Afroze.

 

Your Free Omar friends

 


 

Our obligation to Omar Khadr

Our obligation to Omar KhadrThe federal government recently announced they would not proceed with the Conservative government’s appeal of Omar Khadr’s release on bail. There was a collective sigh of relief from those who have followed his tragic case.

Although Omar is no longer in prison, Canadians cannot be complacent. We must question how we allowed such a gross travesty of justice to occur; how, for over a decade, we sanctioned or acquiesced to the most serious violation of a citizen’s rights and to the torture and abuse of a child.

A letter writing campaign launched by the Free Omar Khadr Committee calls on the Canadian government to finally address our obligation to Omar.

Our individual liberties and equality before the law depend on the universal enforcement of rights and remedies for violations. Violations of those rights must be remedied; otherwise rights protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international treaties are meaningless.

In 2004 a civil claim was filed against the Canadian government seeking compensation for the violations of Omar’s protected rights due to the actions of Canadian authorities and the participation of Canadian officials in his torture and abuse in the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Rather than accepting the conclusion of the Supreme Court that Canadian officials were complicit in the human rights violations suffered while Omar was detained in Guantánamo, the Canadian government, at taxpayer’s expense, persistently has fought Omar’s legal team at every level of court — only to lose each and every time.

A settlement of the civil suit is long overdue. It is urgent that our government provide redress to Omar for the 13 years of suffering caused to him by Canada.
Canada must also launch a commission of inquiry into the actions of Canadian authorities in the human rights abuses Omar suffered during his illegitimate imprisonment by the U.S.

A series of Canadian governments (both Liberal and Conservative) from 2002-2016 stand accused of being complicit in the violation of virtually all Omar’s Charter rights and have contravened Canada’s duty to protect rights under the Convention against Torture, the Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Successful court challenges launched by Omar’s legal team in both Canadian and U.S. courts reveal the scope of the injustice:

    • the U.S. Supreme Court (2006) ruled that the U.S. Pentagon military commissions which “charged” and “sentenced” Omar were unconstitutional;
    • the Supreme Court of Canada (2008) ruled that the conduct of Canadian interrogators violated Omar’s fundamental human rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and principles of fundamental justice;
    • the Federal Court ruled (2005) that Canadian agencies (including CSIS) had violated Omar’s Charter rights by turning information obtained by torture over to his U.S. captors to be used against him in his “trial”;
    • the Federal Court of Appeal ordered (2009) Canada to arrange for Omar’s immediate return (an order ignored by the federal government);
    • the Alberta Appeal Court ruled (2015) that Omar should not have been placed in a federal penitentiary upon his repatriation to Canada. Furthermore, the judgment highlighted the illegitimacy of the Guantánamo military tribunal, stating “…the evidence against [Khadr] would have been excluded in a Canadian court. The legal process under which [Khadr] was held and the evidence elicited from him have been found to have violated both the Charter and international human rights law…”.

The United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) recommended in July 2012 that Canada “ensure that [Omar Khadr] receives appropriate redress for human rights violations that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled he experienced.”

The remedial action required has been outlined by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LWRC) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group in their 2012 report to the UNCAT on the Omar Khadr case in which the numerous contraventions of obligations by Canada were identified.

LRWC identified Canada’s duties under the Convention against Torture to: fullyinvestigate the torture and ill-treatment of Omar Khadr; punish those responsible; and adopt effective measures to prevent further occurrences. According to LRWC: “The continuing failure to prevent, investigate and punish the torture and ill-treatment in the Omar Khadr case not only constitutes a continuing violation of the rights of Omar Khadr, but also encourages and enhances the danger of torture by state and non-state actors alike.”

The UN Committee Against Torture has posed the question: “Has Omar Khadr received appropriate redress for the human rights violations that he suffered, as ruled by the Canadian Supreme Court?” Until our government takes that responsibility, our obligation to Omar must continue.


Kathleen Copps is a retired B.C. teacher and member of the Free Omar Khadr Committee.
Photo: Free Omar Khadr Committee


 

Publication on Rabble.ca: http://rabble.ca/news/2016/04/our-obligation-to-omar-khadr


 

 

 

And the MAX Friend of the Community Award Goes to Dennis Edney!

The Free Omar Khadr Campaign would like to congratulate Dennis Edney who was honoured last night in Toronto at the Muslim Awards for Excellence (MAX), an initiative to 12418059_657974557675297_3249239101110788037_nrecognize and motivate high achievement in the Canadian Muslim community.

Mr. Edney was awarded, among other outstanding candidates nominated, for the MAX Friend of the Community Award which recognizes non-Muslim individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the Canadian Muslim community and assisted in achieving key goals of the community.

The Max Gala Committee posted the following profile of Dennis Edney:

Dennis Edney legally represents Omar Khadr, referred to by media as “Guantanamo’s Child.” He has represented him in all levels of Canadian courts including three successful appearances in the Supreme Court of Canada. He was appointed as a Foreign Attorney Consultant by the Pentagon to defend Omar, and has visited him countless times over the years in Guantanamo Bay.

He has received noteworthy recognition and awards – the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia’s Human Rights Medal; the National Pro Bono Award; the prestigious Gerald L Gall award by the John Humphrey Centre; the Winnipeg Citizens Award for contribution to Human Rights and Justice; the Paul Harris Fellowship for his contribution to global human rights; and named one of “Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers” by Canadian Lawyer.

He finds his most important reward to be helping Omar find his freedom, a task yet unfinished. Omar has been released on bail and currently lives with Dennis. Their legal journey is not yet over, but it is decidedly more hopeful.

Dennis Edney, his wife Patricia and their two sons, Cameron and Duncan deserve the respect and appreciation of all Canadians for their remarkable dedication to Omar, a young man so shockingly abandoned by his own country and denied the most fundamental of rights.

We hope that Dennis’ award will be a timely reminder to the Canadian government (which will soon decide how to proceed with Omar’s civil suit regarding government complicity in his torture and denial of rights) that the violation of Omar’s rights must be remedied.

2016 05 - 28 Omar

Omar Khadr | De enige minderjarige die ooit werd berecht voor oorlogsmisdaden


To our friends in The Netherlands: On  March 19, 21, 24 and 25 the film ‘Guantanamo’s Child’ will be screening during the Movies that Matter Film Festival in The Hague.

Aan onze Nederlandse vrienden: Op 19, 21, 24 en 25 maart zal de film ‘Guantanamo’s Child’ te zien zijn tijdens het Movies that Matter Film Festival in Den Haag.


Als 15-jarige wordt de Canadese Omar Khadr gevangengenomen door Amerikaanse troepen en zonder proces opgesloten in Guantanamo Bay. Na jarenlange marteling komt de 28-jarige Omar in mei 2015 vrij. Samen met zijn raadsman blikt hij terug op zijn aanhouding in Afghanistan en de ontberingen in het gevangenenkamp.

Recensie van Julie Albers. Bron: One World.

“Je kan niet echt spijt hebben van dingen waar je geen controle over hebt.” Dit zijn de woorden van Omar Khadr, nadat hij plotseling is vrijgelaten van een straf die bijna zijn halve leven in beslag heeft genomen. Geduldig beantwoordt hij vragen van de pers voor het huis van zijn advocaat.

Maar aan deze gelukkige afloop gingen dertien jaren gespendeerd in de gevangenis vooraf. Een periode die begon toen hij pas vijftien jaar oud was.

trailer Omar Khadr | Guantanamo’s Child

Bekijk de 47 minuten durende documentaire op Al Jazeera hier.

Deze documentaire vertelt het verhaal van de 28-jarige Omar Khadr, een Canadese burger die een decennium lang in Guantánamo Bay heeft doorgebracht en zonder proces zit opgesloten. Omar en zijn familie waren in Afghanistan toen de VS na 9/11 het land binnenvielen. Zijn vader hielp oorlogsslachtoffers en was, volgens de VS, een sponsor van Al Qaeda. Omar begon te werken als een vertaler voor de rebellen die tegen de Amerikaanse troepen vochten, maar tevens worden beelden getoond waarin hij explosieven bouwt. In 2002 werd hij gevangen genomen door Amerikaanse soldaten en werd hij aangeklaagd voor oorlogsmisdaden. “Ik dacht niet na over moraliteit,” zegt Omar, “het was meer een reflectie van wat mijn omgeving dacht.”

‘Versterkte’ ondervragingstechnieken
De heersende opinie in de VS verschilde enigszins. “Het was duidelijk dat hij een Al Qaeda terrorist was,” aldus een Amerikaanse soldaat. “Hij had genoeg kans om weg te gaan.” Terwijl Omar werd onderworpen aan ‘versterkte’ ondervragingstechnieken, en verhoorders ‘de’ – oftewel hun – waarheid uit hem probeerden te krijgen, spraken de Amerikanen slechts in termen van “Amerikanen doden” en “slechte dingen, slechte mensen”. Desalniettemin is duidelijk zichtbaar dat zij het emotioneel moeilijk hebben wanneer ze nu over Omar spreken.

Het wordt uiteindelijk niet geheel duidelijk waar Omar schuldig aan is. Het punt is dat hij een minderjarige was toen hij achter de tralies werd gezet, en daarmee de enige minderjarige die ooit werd berecht voor oorlogsmisdaden. Voor mij illustreert zijn verhaal ook de oppervlakkigheid en zinloosheid welke soms zo karakteristiek zijn voor het Amerikaanse rechtsstelsel. En ook de manier waarop het volk beïnvloed wordt, bijvoorbeeld door de Canadese minister president Stephen Harper. Hij verklaarde meerdere keren dat Omar ongetwijfeld een terrorist was. Zonder enig overtuigend bewijs.

Maar daar is Dennis Edney, een Canadese advocaat die zich Omars situatie aantrok. Het kostte hem vier jaar om toegang tot zijn dossiers te krijgen. Toen hij Omar eindelijk voor de eerste keer bezocht, omschreef hij hem als een “fragiel en bevroren, gebroken vogeltje”. Maar Edney hield vol, hield Omar op de been door aan hem te beschrijven hoe zijn stad Alberta eruit zag, en behandelde hem als een zoon toen hij vrij kwam.

Vrede, goedheid, blijdschap
Het meest opvallende aspect van zijn documentaire is Omars houding. Tijdens het ontbijt heeft hij een gesprek met Edneys vrouw, waarin hij aan haar vertelt wat hij waardeert in het leven: vrede, goedheid, blijdschap. Ondanks alles wat hij heeft meegemaakt, straalt hij een zekere kalmte en acceptatie uit. Hij heeft de bewakers en hun intimidatie nooit toegelaten in zijn gedachten. En hij praat zelfs over zijn tijd in de gevangenis alsof het een leerzaam avontuur was: “Ik heb mezelf beter leren kennen door deze ervaring.”

Hoewel het al lange tijd bekend is welke gruweldaden hebben plaatsgevonden in Guantánamo, onderstrepen de continue pogingen van president Obama om de gevangenis te sluiten hoe relevant dit onderwerp nog steeds is – en blijft. Hoewel hij hier al mee bezig is sinds 2009, heeft hij afgelopen maand weer een nieuw plan naar het Congres gestuurd, vastberaden om dit hoofdstuk af te kunnen sluiten voor zijn presidentiële termijn voorbij is. Deze documentaire benadrukt weer eens hoe urgent het is dat dit bereikt wordt.

Aan het eind bleef ik achter met gemengde gevoelens: wanhoop, woede maar ook hoop. Ik wist tenminste weer waarom ik om mensenrechten geef, en waarom ik hierin wil verder studeren. De documentaire wrijft in hoe ongelofelijk oneerlijk de wereld kan zijn, en hoeveel er nog verbeterd moet worden. Tegelijkertijd toont het ook de enorme overwinning wanneer dat lukt, zoals Edney heeft gedaan. Maar bovenal zouden wij ons lot en onze vijanden moeten omarmen op de manier waarop Omar dat doet: met respect en vergevingsgezindheid.

bron: https://www.oneworld.nl/wereld/de-enige-minderjarige-die-ooit-werd-berecht-voor-oorlogsmisdaden


 

Lees ook: What has happened to Canada?: Speaking with Omar Khadr in prison door Aaf Post, uit Nederland, die in 2011 de Free Omar campagne heeft opgericht.


 

2015 05 Omar Khadr-Dennis Edney

MAX Gala – Vote for Dennis Edney, Lawyer for Omar Khadr


Dear friends of Omar,

Please VOTE FOR DENNIS EDNEY.

Dennis Edney is nominated as finalist for the MAX (Muslim Award For Excellence) Gala Award. The goal of the Max Gala Award is to recognize the outstanding contribution of Canadian Muslims and friends of the community.

The award for Dennis would be a timely reminder to the Canadian government (which will soon decide how to proceed with Omar’s civil suit regarding government complicity in his torture and denial of rights) that the violation of Omar’s rights must be remedied.

HOW TO VOTE: Halfway this link http://www.maxgala.com/votes/ you see the header:
MAX Friend of the Community – Presented by KSM Law. There you can vote for Dennis Edney.

Voting ends March 5, 2016.

MAX Gala writes as follows about finalist Dennis Edney and his role for the Muslim community.

Dennis Edney legally represents Omar Khadr, referred to by media as “Guantanamo’s Child.” He has represented him in all levels of Canadian courts including three successful appearances in the Supreme Court of Canada. He was appointed as a Foreign Attorney Consultant by the Pentagon to defend Omar, and has visited him countless times over the years in Guantanamo Bay.

He has received noteworthy recognition and awards – the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia’s Human Rights Medal; the National Pro Bono Award; the prestigious Gerald L Gall award by the John Humphrey Centre; the Winnipeg Citizens Award for contribution to Human Rights and Justice; the Paul Harris Fellowship for his contribution to global human rights; and named one of “Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers” by Canadian Lawyer.

He finds his most important reward to be helping Omar find his freedom, a task yet unfinished. Omar has been released on bail and currently lives with Dennis. Their legal journey is not yet over, but it is decidedly more hopeful.

 

Please share the message widely! Thank you!

Free Omar Campaign

2015 06 - fokn new logo

 

 

 

 


 

Ottawa Changes Stand on Omar Khadr

Reblogged from www.immigration.ca.


 

Omar Khadr was shot and captured in Afghanistan several years ago when he was only 15 years old. The previous Liberal government barely fought for his rights as a Canadian and apart from the Department of Foreign Affairs requesting the U.S. government not to transfer the 15-year-old prisoner to Guantánamo Bay, the Liberals did nothing to help Khadr once he reached the notorious prison in Cuba.

Today Omar Khadr is 29 years old amid claims he spent a decade enduring repeated bouts of torture. In 2010, after eight years in custody, he pleaded guilty at a US military commission to five “war crimes,” including the battlefield murder of US Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer. The plea deal allowed Khadr an eight-year sentence and the potential to serve the bulk of his time in a Canadian prison system.

In September 2012 Khadr was sent back to Canada where he has since clarified that his confession was only given to receive a plea bargain so he could escape Guantánamo. Today, Khadr is appealing his convictions in the U.S. arguing that the offences did not exist on the day of the battle—and that even if he did throw that grenade, it was a legitimate act of war, not a war crime.

Even though the Americans assured Canadian officials that he was being treated fairly and humanely, Khadr’s lawyers claim that he was so badly abused, beginning as a teenager, that the U.S. forfeited the right to prosecute him.

In the years since Omar Khadr’s capture, many veteran Liberals have expressed regret over the handling of the file. Bill Graham, foreign affairs minister at the time, now concedes that he should have done more to push for the teen’s release while former Prime Minister Paul Martin, admits, “We should have repatriated him.”

The Liberal government recently announced that Khadr would remain a free man in Edmonton while he appeals his U.S. war crimes convictions at a special court in Virginia, a process that could take many more years.

According to a brief statement released by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, “The Government of Canada respects the decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta which determined that Mr. Khadr be released on bail in Canada pending his US appeal of his US convictions and sentence. Withdrawing this appeal is an important step towards fulfilling the Government’s commitment to review its litigation strategy.”

Even though the Trudeau government should be credited for dropping the Harper-era bail appeal, it did not mention that Khadr was horrifically abused at the hands of the U.S. government, and has suffered more than enough. And it did not say that the government should have lobbied harder on his behalf back in 2002 or come close to labeling him a victim.

Perhaps the reason for its muted stand is because Khadr is still suing the Canadian government for $20-million in damages. Since being filed in 2004, the lawsuit now seems unbeatable. Twice already, the country’s highest court has scolded Ottawa for violating Khadr’s constitutional rights—both times while the Liberals were in power.

When he was apprehended, less than a year after the 9/11 attacks, Khadr was held at a U.S. military hospital in Bagram before being transferred to Guantánamo. At the time his father, Ahmed Said, was a wanted by US authorities because of his connection to al-Qaeda (Ahmed was a reputed al-Qaeda financier with ties to Osama bin Laden). And although Washington considered Ahmed’s teenage son an “enemy combatant” out of reach of consular access, it did permit “intelligence” visits.

The $20-million lawsuit is proceeding while Khadr still lives at the Edmonton home of one of his longtime lawyers, Dennis Edney, while studying to become an emergency medical technician.


Also read: