US Ruling Could Help Omar Khadr Successfully Appeal his Guantanamo ‘Conviction’

The US Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR) made an important decision that acknowledged its illegitimacy in convicting on charges of providing material support for terrorism. The CMCR decision follows on the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court (Al Bahlul v. United States), which held that material support for terrorism is not an offense that the military commission could try.

David Hicks, a former Guantanamo prisoner was convicted by the military commission of this offense but now that conviction has been quashed. He is innocent. His lawyer Stephen Kenny said that the decision confirms that Mr Hicks’ actions were not illegal. “He wasn’t doing anything that was a breach of Australian, international or US law. US civilian courts have ruled that the charge of providing material support for terrorism cannot be considered a war crime in cases that were brought for actions before 2006, when new laws were adopted.”

US civilian courts have ruled that the charge of providing material support for terrorism cannot be considered a war crime in cases that were brought for actions before 2006, when new laws were adopted.”

Omar Khadr was also ‘convicted’ of providing material support, and like David HIcks was told that he had no appeal rights as part of the plea deal. Now it’s clear that appeal rights have not been extinguished, rather they continue to exist.

Nate Whitling, Omar’s lawyer suggested that the ruling could help Omar’s U.S. appeal and stated that “(The) decision in the David Hicks case is important to Omar Khadr’s appeal before the same court. Essentially, it confirms that the form of waiver signed by Omar as part of his plea deal is invalid, and that he may appeal all five of his ‘convictions’.”

Sam Morison, Pentagon appointed lawyer is currently appealing all of Omar’s ‘convictions‘. This challenge has been delayed by other appeals in the system, nevertheless we are hopeful that Omar’s innocence will also be established.

In light of this US appeal and other decisions which have successfully negated the legitimacy of the military commission, Omar’s lawyers have requested bail. The bail hearing is set for March 24-25 in Edmonton. Let’s hope that justice and fairness will prevail for Omar.


Here is a listing of media articles as well as the Hicks decision:

 


 

2015 message Dennis Edney

2015 | Message from Dennis Edney Lawyer for Omar Khadr


A MESSAGE FROM DENNIS EDNEY Q.C., Lawyer for Omar Khadr | February 2015 Omar is now 28 years old and July 2015 will mark the 13th anniversary of his imprisonment. In 2014 we were successful in persuading the Alberta Court of Appeal that Omar’s U.S. sentence was a juvenile sentence, and therefore he should be transferred to a provincial institution where he can access the benefits of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Conservative government appealed the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal. In doing so, it continued a pattern of challenging every decision favourable to Omar Khadr over the past ten years which resulted in millions of dollars in costs at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. The Supreme Court will hear the appeal on May 14, 2015.

On March 24 and 25, 2015 a two day bail application will be heard by the Queen’s Bench of Alberta. We are requesting Omar be released pending the outcome of his appeal in the United States. This application is opposed by the Conservative government on the basis Canadian courts lack jurisdiction.

In June 2015, we will be applying for Omar’s parole. We have formally put the warden on notice that he is obligated under the Act to make a security assessment of Omar. Refusal to do so makes Omar’s chances of parole somewhat grim. Both the Corrections ombudsman and Omar’s parole officer have recommended he be classified as a minimum risk. In the event Omar’s parole is denied, we will file for a judicial review of its decision.

In addition to the above work, we continue to publicize Omar’s plight while fighting for his rights within the prison. Omar remains in the Bowden Institution, a medium security prison in Innisfail, Alberta. He is going blind from lack of treatment in Canadian detention. The U.S. attack in 2002 left Omar blind in his left eye and with shrapnel lodged in his right eye. While in U.S. detention he was not provided treatment to save his sight. Now the vision in his right eye is rapidly deteriorating and without treatment, permanent blindness is inevitable. Within days of filing a court application requesting that Omar receive immediate medical treatment for his right eye, we were informed that an appointment had been set up for Omar to see a specialist. We continue to need your help and ask you to support the Free Omar Khadr 2015 fundraising campaign which has a goal of $50,000. This money goes directly to Omar’s defence with no administration fees. Your contribution makes his defence possible.   With warm regards from Omar and myself, Dennis Edney Q.C.


TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FREE OMAR KHADR NOW 2015 FUND, you have the following options

  • 2) By Cheque, you can send to: Free Omar Khadr Now Committee; P.O. Box 57112 RPO; East Hastings Street, Vancouver; V5K 1Z0 B.C.; Canada. (Please enclose your email address)
  • 3) By Bank Deposit/Interac e-transfer: Free Omar Khadr Now Committee; VanCity Credit Union, Branch 13; Account number: 531590; freeomarkhadrnow@gmail.com.

 


Photograph by Richard K. Wolff


The Omar Khadr case | The worst thing is that we bequeath this legacy to our children

By Hazel Gabe, member Free Omar Khadr Now – Committee | February 2015


Canada has “fallen into lawlessness,” says Omar Khadr’s lawyer. And we are all culpable.

At a talk at Carleton University on Feb. 4th 2015, renowned human rights lawyer Dennis Edney gave a call to action against what he described as Canada’s descent beyond the rule of law. The treatment of Omar Khadr by the Canadian government is not only about the torture and abuse of one young

Canadian – as if this were not bad enough. It is also an abuse of our collective rights – and the foundations of our society.

Omar Khadr was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay at fifteen years old. He spent a decade in Guantanamo before facing the US Military Commission’s spurious kangaroo court process, which allowed evidence obtained under torture and retroactively applied crimes, thus failing the most basic tests of a fair court. The charges themselves were not legally recognized war crimes, but rather were crimes invented by the US government. Yet Canada continues to imprison Khadr based on this process.

Speaking to a full house of students, faculty and members of the public, Edney made an entreaty for Canadians to speak up against the erosion of the rule of law in this country. He spoke, he said, not only as a lawyer, but as a father who had been profoundly changed by what he witnessed at Guantanamo.

Omar Khadr is a native of Toronto and was in Afghanistan with his family in 2002, aged fifteen, when the compound he had been left at by his father was attacked by US forces.

Omar was severely wounded in the air bombardment, riddled with shrapnel and blinded in one eye. While he was in this condition, a US Special Forces soldier shot him twice in the back – a war crime in itself under the Geneva Conventions. Within days of being shot, while still in critical condition and bleeding from gaping bullet wounds in his chest, he was subject to torture by US military personnel. It was at this point he was accused of having killed an American soldier. Interrogators tied him in painful stress positions to aggravate his wounds, hung him by his wrists for hours on end, and subjected him to a litany of other cruel, degrading, and inhumane treatment.

Omar’s torture is now a matter of public record, Edney pointed out on Wednesday, citing legal documents such as Omar’s affidavit, the testimony of Omar’s interrogators themselves and of other prisoners held with him. Omar’s chief interrogator, Sgt. Joshua Claus, later pled guilty to crippling two prisoners and murdering two others who died after his interrogations. Edney described that in his own personal interviews with Claus, the man confessed that he had never been harder on anyone than he was on Omar.

It is under these conditions that Omar made his “confession.” This was the only evidence against him, and to this day he is still imprisoned in Canada based on it.

Omar’s decade of imprisonment and torture in Guantanamo was illegal under international and Canadian laws, but was allowed to continue by the Canadian government. The first duty of a government is to the safety of its citizens, and especially its children. But instead of providing consular assistance and requesting his repatriation, as did all other Western democracies for their citizens at “Gitmo,” the Canadian government actively took advantage of Omar’s situation to contribute to his further torture and indefinite detention.

During his talk, Edney described the Military Commission Process at Guantanamo as a “pantomime court.” It is widely known in Canada that Omar was offered a plea deal. It was one he was coerced by circumstances to take. “He didn’t want to plead guilty,” says Edney. “He didn’t want to go back to Canada as a ‘terrorist’.”

Had he not signed, according to the Pentagon, even if the commission ruled him innocent he could still have faced a lifetime of imprisonment at Guantanamo.

Make no mistake that the Canadian government knows all the details of Khadr’s torture and abuses, Edney says. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed. On the two occasions it’s seen the case, in 2008, and again in 2010, it ruled that the Canadian Government was complicit in the violations of Omar’s Geneva and Charter rights.

Yet Omar remains imprisoned. Since coming to Canada, he has spent months in solitary confinement, or in danger from the prisoners around him thanks to having been classified a maximum security risk by the Canadian government, against the advice of American officials. He has not had access to the medical care he needs, and is currently losing the vision in his remaining eye.

All this speaks to the abandoning of fundamental principles of justice that have been in place since the 1700s – the right to habeas corpus, to escape guilt and fear by association – as well as principles enshrined in the Geneva conventions, the declaration of human rights, and the declaration on the rights of the child. It is this that Mr. Edney referred to in decrying the failure of the rule of law in this country.

“There is no greater betrayal of Canada than for our government to be implicated in the torture of a Canadian citizen,” Edney said. He placed the burden on all Canadians for failing to make their government take responsibility. His talk could have been called “the evils of apathy,” he said, urging the audience to speak up about the injustices and not to settle for a society that makes decisions based on fear.

“When we are ruled by fear in society, it is then that we fall into lawlessness… [and it is] precisely one of the aims of terrorism to create a climate of fear.”

Edney continued that if this can happen to one young boy, who should have been guaranteed all sorts of protections, protections as a citizen, and child, it can happen to any of us.

The rule of law must be applied to everyone or it means nothing. This is the foundation of our society. And if the rule of law means nothing, none of us are safe.

“Worse, far worse,” said Edney, “we bequeath this social legacy to our children.”

 


To support Dennis Edney in the legal challenges to Free Omar Khadr, please go to: FREE OMAR KHADR NOW FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN


also read: Omar Khadr, The Inconvenient Truth, by John Osborn, Dean of Cartleton University

 

 

 

 

Twitterstorm Feb 9 – Omar Khadr’s Right to be Heard


On February 9 the Federal Court will hear the Canadian media’s application, arguing that it is in the public interest that Omar should be heard. This application is being opposed by the Conservative government who wishes to silence Omar.

We are holding a TWITTERSTORM on Feb 9, using the hashtag #Khadr, at:

  • 1 pm PST (Vancouver),
  • 4 pm EST (Toronto, Ottawa), 
  • 9 pm GMT (London UK) 

Join the TWITTERSTORM using the prepared tweets below and while we’d like it to trend for one hour — please feel free to use the tweets or make new #Khadr tweets throughout the day.


PREPARED TWEETS:


Also intrigued what the Ca Govt has to hide by silencing Omar #Khadr ? Join the TWITTERSTORM https://freeomar.ca/2015/02/08/twitterstorm-feb-9-omar-khadrs-right-to-be-heard/ #cdnpoli

Are our rights at stake today? Omar #Khadr ‘s right to speak is our right to speak AND our right to know. https://freeomar.ca/2015/01/31/freeomarfund/ #cdnpoli

“My impression of Omar #Khadr is that he’s an articulate, thoughtful, non-radicalized individual” Why silence him?
wp.me/p2mO3O-1gU

Today Canadian media are in court to argue the public interest to hear Omar #Khadr. The Canadian govt fights this for unexplained reasons.

.@MinStevenBlaney has frequently spoken out on #Khadr. http://freeomar.ca believes Canadians have right to hear both sides of this story

And again the Canadian taxpayer must suffer from the Govt’s attempts to thwart Omar #Khadr. Toronto Star, CBC, and WP Pictures go to court.

A full update on Omar #Khadr. FACTSHEET: freeomar.ca/factsheet/ and FREE OMAR CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: http://www.freeomar.ca #cdnpoli

Let Omar #Khadr Speak! By silencing him, @pmharper is violating the constitutional protection of the public’s right to know.

Ignoring Omar #Khadr’s rights by the Ca govt is an abuse of our collective rights and the foundations of our society. https://freeomar.ca/articles/the-omar-khadr-case-we-bequeath-this-legacy-to-our-children/

13yrs illegally detained and no chance to speak to media, yet @MinStevenBlaney grabs every option to falsely label Omar #Khadr as terrorist.

We invite you to read Omar’s own words. Omar #Khadr Speaks – letters to his friends: https://freeomar.ca/omar-speaks/omar-speaks-through-his-friends/ #cdnpoli

Dennis Edney, lawyer Omar #Khadr “The worst thing is that we bequeath this legacy to our children.” Article: http://wp.me/P2mO3O-1hh #cdnpoli

The rule of law must be applied to everyone or it means nothing. And if it means nothing, none of us are safe. wp.me/P2mO3O-1hh #Khadr

While the Ca gov spends millions of taxpayers money to fight Omar’s rights, we ask you to support #Khadr defense team https://freeomar.ca/2015/01/31/freeomarfund/

Today Federal Court in Toronto hearing OMAR #KHADR’S application arguing that it is in the public interest Omar be interviewed by the media.

.@pmHarper – OMAR #KHADR has a constitutional right to tell his true story to the Canadian public through the media. TAKE AWAY THE GAG ORDER

.@pmHarper – Canadians deserve to know the truth about OMAR #KHADR, not Harper-Cons’ self-serving propaganda. Let the press interview Omar.

Hear Dennis Edney, Lawyer Omar #Khadr. “What Does This Say About Humanity?” https://freeomar.ca/2015/02/06/omar-khadrs-long-walk-towards-justice-what-does-this-say-about-humanity/ #cdnpoli #Ottpoli #topoli

.@pmHarper – It is our constitutional right to know the truth about OMAR #KHADR, and what he has experienced at the hands of US & Cdn govts.

.@pmHarper – Canadians & the world want to know why govt allowed Cdn citizen OMAR #KHADR to be tortured/abused from age 15 in US hellholes?

.@pmHarper Canadians & our Courts don’t accept confessions made under duress of torture & abuse. FREE OMAR #KHADR NOW http://wp.me/p2mO3O-1gA

.@pmHarper – Why is Cdn citizen OMAR #KHADR jailed in Canada? Stop adding insult to injury. Innocent men don’t belong in jail.

.@pmHarper – OMAR #KHADR wants to be a contributing member of our society, not languish in Cdn jails. FREE OMAR! http://wp.me/p2mO3O-1gU

Dean Osborne welcomed lawyer Omar #Khadr to Carleton. Spoke about ‘inconvenient truth’ and roles of Universities. http://carleton.ca/fass/2015/inconvenient-truth/

.@pmHarper Canadians dont want to hear Cons’ fear-mongering propaganda against OMAR #KHADR. We want to hear him speak http://wp.me/P2mO3O-1hh

.@pmHarper – OMAR #KHADR needs immediate eye surgery to save his vision & continue his education. FREE HIM SO HE CAN LIVE A NORMAL LIFE

.@minstevenblaney Your govt has spent millions of taxpayer dollars in order to challenge every court which defends Omar #Khadr’s rights.

.@minstevenblaney Your govt continues to deny basic tenet of democracy-freedom of the press & public’s right to know. Let Omar #Khadr speak

.@minstevenblaney Your govt violates fundamental rights of Omar #Khadr & wastes millions of taxpayers $ to challenge court decisions.

.@minstevenblaney You have lost your relentless campaign to demonize Omar. Cdns believe in #Omar, his innocence and his right to be free.

.@minstevenblaney – Cdns will soon hear from Omar and will realize we have allowed unforgivable violations of his rights & our humanity.

.@minstevenblaney Omar #Khadr’s ‘sentence’ in a judicially-corrupt Gitmo military tribunal grave breach of Gen. Conventions & crime in Cda.

.@pmharper – Cdn courts have found our government implicated in the torture of Canadian citizen Omar #Khadr. Free Omar Now

.@pmharper – All Canadians complicit in the torture of a 15-year-old child. Free Omar #Khadr Now

.@pmharper – The rule of law and Omar #Khadr’s human rights subordinated by a government acting in the name of security. Free Omar Now

.@pmharper – The case of Omar #Omar shows how easily society can fall into lawlessness. Violations of his rights must be redressed.

The Right to Speak, Freedom and a University Degree is the least Omar #Khadr deserves. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/02/03/omar-khadr-applies-for-bail.html … #cdnpoli

Freedom of Speech? While we are not allowed to hear Omar #Khadr speak the Canadian govt never misses an opportunity to slander Omar #Khadr.

 


Thank you for joining us in Omar’s struggle for justice and freedom!

Newsletter Free Omar Khadr Now | Jan – Feb 2015


Recent 2015 articles in the media about Omar :


Christian university in Edmonton offers spot to Omar Khadr | CBC As it Happens, with Carol Off & Jeff Douglas, Feb 5, 2015Melanie Humphries

Listen to radio interview here →

“We seek to serve community and society to bring about reconcilation,” university president Melanie Humphries tells As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch. “We really feel that society increasingly has become about retribution and fear.” She adds that about 30 per cent of the university’s students don’t identify as Christian.

Humphries, who has spent time with Khadr, says he has been wrongly portrayed in the media — and by the federal government — as a terrorist and a jihadist. “My impression of him is that he’s an articulate, thoughtful, non-radicalized individual,” she says.

Continue reading →


Edmonton university has no qualms offering Omar Khadr a spot | Video by Chris Purdy, Feb 4, 2015

Watch video →

King’s University in Edmonton says offering Omar Khadr admission is the right thing to do. The Christian-principled school is giving the former Guantanamo Bay inmate a spot as part of his bail application to be heard next month.


Educating Omar Khadr: ‘Just doing what we do,’ Christian university saysBy Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, Feb 4, 2015

Dan Vankeeken“This completely matches what we’re about: Our mission is about inspiring and educating learners to be agents of reconciliation and renewal,” Dan VanKeeken, the school’s vice-president, said in an interview in Toronto this week.
“We don’t have a position on Omar. We’re just doing what we do.”
Khadr, 28, pleaded guilty in 2010 before a widely maligned U.S. military commission to five war crimes he was accused of committing as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan in July 2002. He is now serving out the rest of his eight-year sentence in Bowden, Alta,. as a medium security prisoner.
He is applying for bail — to be heard in March — pending an appeal of his conviction based on U.S. legal rulings that what he did was not a war crime under either international or American law.

Continue reading →


Omar Khadr applies for bail | By Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star, Feb 03 2015

Kings UniversityA Christian university in Edmonton has offered to admit former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr if he wins his bid for freedom next month after 12 years in custody.
“What better way to prepare someone for success in life than with education,” said Dan Vankeeken, vice-president of The King’s University, in an interview Tuesday as he visited Toronto.
Although the Khadr case has been highly politicized and has divided Canadians, Vankeeken says the university’s decision has been well received by the community.

Continue reading →


Omar Khadr hopes to restart his life in EdmontonBy Caley Ramsay, Global News, Jan 31, 2015

27 Omar grijs langwerpig“He’s a bright, intelligent, dedicated student and there’s a good number of faculty that have been in a relationship with him,” said Humphreys. “We feel like it was pretty much a logical step.”
Khadr’s Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney said the Toronto-born Khadr would live with him in Edmonton.
Khadr’s bail hearing is set for March 24. It will be his first attempt at freedom since his return from a notorious U.S. Prison in Cuba where he was held for eight years.
“It’s becoming clearer and clearer in the United States from recent cases that Omar’s convictions are invalid,” his lawyer, Nate Whitling, told the Canadian Press last week.

Continue reading →


Khadr hopes to study at Edmonton university, live with lawyer’s family | By Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal, Jan 30, 2015

Omar Khadr will be offered a place at King’s University as a mature student and he will receive help from several agencies and citizens to integrate into the community, according documents filed in court Friday for a bail hearing.

In his affidavit, Khadr, 28, sets out his hopes to stay Edmonton, study at King’s, join an interfaith community and play some pickup games of soccer in the neighbourhood if he is released on bail this spring.

Continue reading →


Omar Khadr seeks bail pending US appeal of war crime convictionBy Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, Jan 23, 2015Omar Khadr

TORONTO – Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr is seeking bail pending disposition of his appeal in the United States against his disputed conviction for war crimes. The bail hearing, set for March 24, would be Khadr’s first attempt at freedom since his return from a notorious U.S. prison in Cuba where he was held for eight years.
“It’s becoming clearer and clearer in the United States from recent cases that Omar’s convictions are invalid,” his lawyer, Nate Whitling, said from Edmonton on Friday. “The Court of Military Commission Review is simply taking too long to state the obvious, and so it’s time for Omar to be released.”

Continue reading →


Omar Khadr’s Long Walk Towards Justice | What Does This Say About Humanity?


Listen to Dennis Edney at the Scott Horton Show | February 4 2015. [00:25] :

Dennis Edney, Omar’s defense lawyer, discusses Omar’s near-death battlefield capture in Afghanistan at 15; the torture he endured for years at Guantanamo; the US and Canadian governments’ disdain for fair trials and justice; and the current efforts to free Omar from his Canadian prison.


2015 FREE OMAR FUNDTO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FREE OMAR KHADR NOW 2015 FUND, you have the following options

  • 2) By Cheque, you can send to: Free Omar Khadr Now Committee; P.O. Box 57112 RPO; East Hastings Street, Vancouver; V5K 1Z0 B.C.; Canada. (Please enclose your email address)
  • 3) By Bank Deposit/Interac e-transfer: Free Omar Khadr Now Committee; VanCity Credit Union, Branch 13; Account number: 531590; freeomarkhadrnow@gmail.com.


A MESSAGE FROM DENNIS EDNEY Q.C., Lawyer for Omar Khadr   |    February 2015

Omar is now 28 years old and July 2015 will mark the 13th anniversary of his imprisonment.

In 2014 we were successful in persuading the Alberta Court of Appeal that Omar’s U.S. sentence was a juvenile sentence, and therefore he should be transferred to a provincial institution where he can access the benefits of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  

The Conservative government appealed the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal. In doing so, it continued a pattern of challenging every decision favourable to Omar Khadr over the past ten years which resulted in millions of dollars in costs at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. The Supreme Court will hear the appeal on May 14, 2015.

On March 24 and 25, 2015 a two day bail application will be heard by the Queen’s Bench of Alberta. We are requesting Omar be released pending the outcome of his appeal in the United States. This application is opposed by the Conservative government on the basis Canadian courts lack jurisdiction.

In June 2015, we will be applying for Omar’s parole. We have formally put the warden, David Pelham, on notice that he is obligated under the Act to make a security assessment of Omar. Refusal to do so makes Omar’s chances of parole somewhat grim. Both the Corrections ombudsman and Omar’s parole officer have recommended he be classified as a minimum risk.  
In the event Omar’s parole is denied, we will file for a judicial review of its decision. 

In addition to the above work, we continue to publicize Omar’s plight while fighting for his rights within the prison. 

Omar remains in the Bowden Institution, a medium security prison in Innisfail, Alberta. He is going blind from lack of treatment in Canadian detention.

The U.S. attack in 2002 left Omar blind in his left eye and with shrapnel lodged in his right eye. While in U.S. detention he was not provided treatment to save his sight. Now the vision in his right eye is rapidly deteriorating and without treatment, permanent blindness is inevitable.

Within days of filing a court application requesting that Omar receive immediate medical treatment for his right eye, we were informed that an appointment had been set up for Omar to see a specialist.

We continue to need your help and ask you to support the Free Omar Khadr 2015 fundraising campaign which has a goal of $50,000. This money goes directly to Omar’s defence with no administration fees.

Your contribution makes his defence possible.

 

With warm regards from Omar and myself,

Dennis Edney Q.C.