Interview Omar Khadr | Tout le Monde en Parle

Omar’s composure, eloquence, and standing ovation! on Radio Canada t.v. Sunday night, has resulted in a much-needed sea change in coverage by the mainstream media. In this article from the National Post, Omar’s words are highlighted-a rare opportunity for readers to hear from Omar himself.

OTTAWA — In his first major interview since an Alberta judge ruled his war crimes sentence has expired, a composed Omar Khadr appeared Sunday night on the ferociously popular Quebec talk show Tout le monde en parle.

Walking out to greet the Montreal studio audience in a blue-grey suit jacket, Khadr got a standing ovation, then settled in for a 14-minute chat during which he faced plenty of tough questions from host Guy A. Lepage.

Read the full article in the National Post here: Highlights of Omar Khadr’s appearance on Quebec’s most popular talk show

Watch Omar Khadr, Sunday April 21, on Radio Canada

Tomorrow night (Sunday April 21) Quebec’s most popular televsion programme, “Tout le Monde en Parle”, will air an interview with Omar Khadr (8 p.m.EST) on Radio Canada.

Check listings in your area to tune in or follow this link:


Finally getting it right on Omar Khadr

Ahmed Sahi’s excellent Opinion Piece (March 28th) in The Star:
“In this land, there is one authority that keeps the government of Canada accountable for its actions and upholds the highest standards of justice – and that authority is the Supreme Court of Canada.

On Canada’s treatment of Khadr and its utter violation of his rights and the injustice against him, the Supreme Court ruled that “Canada actively participated in a process contrary to its international human rights obligations and contributed to Khadr’s ongoing detention so as to deprive him of his right to liberty and security of the person.”

In summarizing the wrongs committed against Khadr, the Supreme Court said “the interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation… offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”

All these facts should be brought to light for the public again, and the “polls” that some conservative pundits have so giddily referred to should be conducted with the public knowing what really happened to Khadr.

Armed with the right information, I think the majority of Canadians would agree that we as a country have finally gotten it right with Omar Khadr – even when many would speak loudly against it.”

Read the full opinion piece by Ahmed Sahi here: Finally getting it right on Omar Khadr | The Star


Message from Omar Khadr to his supporters


On Monday, March 25, Chief Justice Mary Moreau granted me the freedom I have been long awaiting. This decision did not bring an end to my legal battles but it has removed the shadow of indefinite chains from my life. I would like to thank everyone who has stood by me throughout the years.

I would like to give special thanks to Nate Whitling, who has and continues to, tirelessly defend my rights..

I would like to thank the members of the Free Omar Khadr Now group along with the Pour Omar Khadr group who have been a consistent support system for me and also have worked to bring awareness to the facts of my case. In addition, I would like to thank Lawyers Rights Watch for bringing my case forward to the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

I would also like to thank all of my fellow Canadian citizens and people across the world who have taken time out of their day to message me words of support. Your words are like rays of light in the darkness.

  Omar Khadr……………………..

photo: Omar Khadr, next to Statue of Ivstitia (Justice) at the Supreme Court of Canada


Omar Khadr walks out of Courtroom 417 a free man

At last.

Omar Khadr’s sentence is finished, Alberta judge rules. He is a free man now, after 17 years of injustice. A huge debt of gratitude to Omar’s lawyer, Nate Whitling, for years of steadfast defense. We also thank all those who have supported our campaign throughout the years.

CBC Edmonton made the commendable effort to interview three experts for today’s article on the judge’s decision to end Omar’s sentence <read article here>. Nate Whitling, Omar’s very determined and brilliant lawyer offers his perspective on the case, as does U. of Alberta professor Janice Williamson, editor of Omar Khadr, Oh Canada and member of Free Omar Khadr Now Campaign. Included too, is Audrey Macklin (Professor and Chair in Human Rights Law at U. of T.) who has written extensively on the illegality of Omar’s Guantanamo detention, charges and sentence. How refreshing to hear from those who help the Canadian public appreciate the injustice Omar has faced all these years.

Still left is the US appeal to overturn Omar’s Guantanamo ‘conviction’. The rule of law is strong.


Letter to Media: In regards to coverage of Omar Khadr

Dear Member of the Media,

Please find attached an updated Factsheet on Omar Khadr prepared by the Free Omar Khadr Now advocacy group. This Factsheet is offered as a media resource in advance of Chief Justice Mary Moreau’s March 25 decision on whether Omar Khadr’s sentence will be expired. We hope the Factsheet will be helpful to journalists new to the story and to others who may have unwittingly incorporated inaccurate facts.

Several errors tend to be repeated in the media.

See, for example: “Omar Khadr pleaded guilty and was convicted of killing Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, an American medic in the U.S. army, with a hand grenade in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15.”

  • Error #1: The illegitimacy of the U.S. Military Commission convictions

The U.S. Military Commission has been discredited internationally – and, in 2008, by the US Supreme Court. These commissions are not properly constituted courts of law and therefore they are unable to legitimately sentence, convict or negotiate guilty pleas. Terms such as “convicted terrorist’, “war criminal” or “murderer” are inaccurate with reference to Omar Khadr.

In her April 2014 ruling, Chief Justice of Alberta Catherine Fraser said: “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 laws.”

  • Error#2: Misidentifying Sgt. Speer, an active Delta Forces soldier, as medic

Some journalists describe Sgt. Speer as “an American medic in the U.S. army.” While he was training to be a medic, Sgt. Speer was deployed as an active Delta Forces soldier at the Afghan compound July 27, 2002.  Discredited journalistic sources such as Rebel Media commonly describe Sgt. Speer as a medic as did former PM Stephen Harper and Conservative Party officials.

The U.S. never charged Omar Khadr with killing a medic, a Geneva Conventions war crime. As Audrey Macklin, law professor and director of The Centre for Criminology and Sociological Studies at the University of Toronto, writes: “Sergeant Speer was not acting as a medic during the battle in which he was killed and he was not rushing to Mr. Khadr’s aid when he died. Not even the U.S. military prosecutors alleged this. Sgt. Speer’s death as a combatant, a tragic loss to his family and his country, was not a war crime.”

For more details of the firefight, you can read the testimony of another Delta Forces soldier who was present at the battle when Sgt Speer died.


The impact of misleading statements about Omar Khadr’s story perpetuates myths and propaganda about his case and misrepresents the rule of law. At this particular moment in history when white supremacist views are mobilized by proliferating groups, the Omar Khadr case can be a particularly charged issue.


Thanks especially to those of you who have worked to cover this long and complex story over many years.



Helen Sadowski and Janice Williamson
on behalf of the Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Also see:


March 2019 – Newsletter Free Omar Campaign | Omar Khadr wants sentence expired

Judge to decide March 25

On March 25th Chief Justice Mary Moreau will hand down her decision whether or not the sentence imposed on Omar by the illegitimate Guantanamo process will be expired. Anyone who has followed the 17 years of abuse and injustice Omar has faced, will be anxiously awaiting the news that once again Canadian courts have ruled in his favour.

Read and watch here: Omar Khadr wants “war crimes” sentence expired; judge to decide March 25



Attention to all Free Omar supporters in Edmonton!

Sam Morison, Omar Khadr’s pentagon-appointed lawyer, is returning to Edmonton, to offer a public lecture on Omar’s US appeal. For those who were unable to attend his previous talk, here is a link.

The talk offers excellent background to the legal issues and the nature of the military tribunals which operate outside civil and legal rights.

Sam Morison: Attorney Samuel Morison from the US Department of Defense has practiced law for more than 20 years and is a nationally recognized expert on federal executive clemency and the restoration of civil rights.

February 27, 2019
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Room 193 Law Centre
(111th St. and 89th Ave.)
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB

This event is free and open to the public

Edmonton, February 27, 2019 | Speaker Event – Sam Morison: United States vs Omar Khadr


Attention to all Free Omar supporters in Edmonton!

Sam Morison, Omar Khadr’s pentagon-appointed lawyer, will discuss the constitutional issues that are being litigated in the Omar Khadr case: the scope of Congress’ authority to codify violations of the Law of Nations, and the application of the Ex Post Facto Clause.

Sam Morison: Attorney Samuel Morison from the US Department of Defense has practiced law for more than 20 years and is a nationally recognized expert on federal executive clemency and the restoration of civil rights. He is Omar Khadr`s U.S. Pentagon appointed lawyer and leads the appeal against Omar’s Guantanamo military “conviction”.

February 27, 2019
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Room 193 Law Centre
(111th St. and 89th Ave.)
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB

This event is free and open to the public

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Omar Khadr and A Canada That Values Children’s Rights

We are reblogging a beautifully written post by our friend, singer-songwriter Justine Vandergrift. We recommend listening to the touching song “Bring Me Home” she wrote based on the time that Omar was unlawfully held in Guantanamo, and that is part of her first album.

Omar Khadr and A Canada That Values Children’s Rights

By Justine Vandergrift.

Over the past two weeks I’ve been getting several Google Alerts​ in my inbox with updates​ about my friend Omar Khadr. I’ve been following his case since I was studying at The King’s University in Edmonton in 2008. It all started when ​Dennis Edney, Omar’s pro-bono lawyer, spoke at the University’s​ semi-annual interdisciplinary conference on topic of human dignity. Edney​ outlined the history of the Omar Khadr case (then) and all the ways that the Canadian government had been complicit in this child soldiers’ abuse in Guantanamo Bay. After the​ conference I became very engaged in the case. I was deeply disturbed by the story.

For a lot of people this story is new because it’s bigger in the media now than it has ever been. I’ve been reading, writing and singing about it since 2008 when it should have been brought to Canada’s attention as a major human rights issue. I wrote “Bring Me Home” produced by Stew Kirkwood in Edmonton and released on yes alright ok my first album in 2011. I’m so glad Omar is home and free and has been given this long overdue apology in the form of 10.5 million from the Canadian government.

Omar Khadr was accused of having thrown the grenade that killed American Sergeant Christopher Speer in 2002 when Omar was 15. He was incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay for ten years. The Governments interrogation of Omar at Guantanamo “offend[ed] the most basic Canadian standards [of] the treatment of detained youth suspects,” according to a 2010 ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada. He eventually pleaded “guilty” to the “crimes” of which he was accused in exchange for an 8-year sentence and a transfer to a Canadian prison in Edmonton. A Canadian child who had been caught in war, captured, tortured and imprisoned in an illegal prison for 8 years coerced to take a guilty plea in order to have any kind of future in his country.

Omar is a Canadian citizen who is my age and our shared government was completely complicit of his torture and confinement in Gitmo. The Canadian government not only ignored him when all other Western countries had repatriated their citizens, Omar​ was also denied the protocols used for children in combat. This is ironic given that Canada played a large roll in writing those protocols. Instead, the Canadian government sent representatives to Guantanamo Bay to try and trick Omar into a confession.  With the help of his American captors, the Canadian interrogators tried to improve their chances of manipulating Omar by depriving him of sleep for three full weeks. According to one soldier, this sleep deprivation was usually enough to make grown men fall apart.

In 2008 I wrote several letters to politicians with the reasons why Omar should be repatriated and received empty responses back saying there was a “due process.”  So I wrote to Stephen Harper asking him to meet me for coffee when he was in Edmonton to discuss the Khadr case. I wasn’t surprised that he declined.

As I got to know Dennis Edney and others who were following the case, I was able to exchange letters with Omar while he was in Gitmo. From the letters, I got to know Omar as a gentle, kind, young man who loved to learn and grow and just wanted to be back in school in Canada. When Omar was finally brought to Canada after taking the guilty plea deal, I was able to visit him in the prison just North of Edmonton. I was so excited to finally ​meet him in person albeit​ through glass over the jail phone. We​ had a two-hour conversation that was light, serious and ​thought-provoking all at the same time. My memory of him being escorted away after that conversation is vivid and I cried about it on the drive home. It felt so unfair to me that eight years after the incident in (young man) Afghanistan, he was still​ literally ​trapped in this disgusting political game. And then the awful things people would say about a perfect stranger online, my friend who I admire, seemed​ unbearable.

​Dennis always said that Omar had nothing negative to say about anyone ​and as​ I got to know him​ I found that to be true. Considering all the terrible things done to him I was and still am fascinated and perplexed by Omar’s kindness and strength.

So when I woke at 1am on July 4 to this headline “Ottawa to offer Omar Khadr apology, $10.5-million in compensation” I was ​both​ surprised and ecstatic. I didn’t even think about the $10.5 million​, I just thought it was finally a step in the right direction by the Canadian go​vernment. Since then I​’ve been​ reluctantly reading the politically charged pushback opinions regarding ​the payout and apology. I can’t help but feel both discouraged and disgusted by the lack of compassion and understanding​ from fellow Canadians. There is an undeniable greed inherent in those opposed to the payout. My thoughts are:

That $10.5 million is just a number symbolic of a long overdue public apology.

  • Would people say the same awful things about Omar receiving money and an apology if they had the privilege to get to know him like I have?
  • And do they realize all the unpaid work that was done by fellow Canadians trying to hold our government accountable to the charter of rights and freedoms so that the same thing wouldn’t happen to one of their loved ones?
  • Contrary to the evidence of capitalism, one person’s financial gain does not always mean another​s’ loss. In fact, I think that well placed money can reverse the destructive cycles we see everywhere.
  • It’s a long overdue apology and clearly, based on the pushback, money talks.

​I recorded and released a song called “Bring Me Home” back in 2011 while Omar was still unjustly imprisoned. I wrote it in 2008, almost 10 years ago now, while thinking about his story. There will continue to be Canadians caught in unfortunate circumstances abroad and I want to continue believing I live and give to a country who stands behind the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and protects and values its citizens, especially its children, regardless of race or religion and brings them home. ​ 

I believe the ​recent statement by Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire and Dr. Shelly Whitman on Omar Khadr describes the situation best:​

​”​An apology and compensation is just the first step in a long healing process that has only begun for this young man. An apology does not absolve Canada for its many years of inaction, but does give it an opportunity to finally lead once again on issues of children. When Khadr was finally released on bail on May 7th of 2015 he stated, “there is nothing I can do about the past, but there is something I can do about the future”.

​Canada can and should find resonance and continued action in these words.

We applaud the action of the Canadian government in issuing this apology as a critical step to demonstrate a children’s rights upfront approach. It is time for us to break the cycle of violence that so many children are vulnerable to around the world.

We have finally seen the light.”



Blog Justine Vandergrift: