Today, July 8 – 10:00am (MDT) the Alberta Court of Appeal will release the decision regarding the case Omar Ahmed Khadr vs. Edmonton Institution determining the legality of his placement in a federal penitentiary.
On April 30, Omar’s lawyer, Dennis Edney had argued in an Edmonton Appeals Court that Omar should not be detained in a Federal institution as an adult offender, since he was a juvenile when captured. Omar should be under provincial jurisdiction where he would have access to transitional programs and parole. The federal lawyers claimed that Omar was sentenced as an adult for four of the five ‘crimes’ and should remain in a federal institution.
The court decision comes in the same week it became clear through a memo released by the U.S. Department of Justice that the U.S. and Canada knew in 2010 that the charges brought against Omar Khadr by the military commission were not legal. Yet months later, the U.S. pressured him to confess to the bogus charges as his only way out of Guantanamo. Abandoned by his own government, Omar pleaded guilty to charges that would never have held up in a lawfully constituted court.
Omar was a 15-year-old Canadian juvenile at the time of his capture, whose fundamental rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were disregarded. The Canadian government had the obligation to demand that Omar be treated according to the Geneva Conventions with special regard for his age, and be immediately returned to Canada. He should never have been detained by the U.S. or Canada.
After he was finally repatriated in 2012, Canada should have immediately set him free and offered him redress for the abuse he had suffered. Instead, our government placed him in maximum security detention charging him as an adult offender. The government has repeatedly stated,
“We will vigorously defend against any attempt to lessen his punishment.”
This month marks the 12th year of the loss of his freedom.