Maher Arer endorses our Petition – Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr


The Free Omar campaign is grateful to Maher Arar for endorsing our petition calling on the federal government to fulfill our moral and legal obligation to Omar Khadr.

Canadians are likely familiar with the case of Mr. Arar, a Syrian-Canadian who in 2008, after a formal inquiry, received compensation and a formal government apology for the shocking role of Canadian officials in his 2002 rendition and year of captivity and torture in Syria. While the pain and suffering caused to Maher Arar and his family can never be fully remedied, as in Omar’s case, Canada had an obligation to award redress. Canada must respect our international obligation to oppose torture in all instances.

We thank Maher Arer for his support. We hope he inspires you to sign our petition.

Please sign and share the petition; support justice for Omar!

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Background to the PETITION – CANADA’S OBLIGATION TO OMAR KHADR


 

Monia Mazigh endorses our Petition – Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr


A sincere thank you to Monia Mazigh for her endorsement of our petition.

In her article in the Huffington Post, she reminds us why it is so important for Canada to fulfill our obligation to Omar.

“Omar Khadr was stripped of his rights as a child, as a teenager and later as an adult. Today, he is trying hard to put his life back on track and get the education that was denied to him all these past years. As long as Omar Khadr file is still lingering, Canada won’t be able to hide its dark face and celebrate its record on the world scene. It is time for the Canadian government to act swiftly and let the sun shine on Omar Khadr’s life”.

Please read the article “Omar Khadr’s Case A Black Stamp On Canada’s Human Rights Record“, then sign and share the petition below. We are counting on your signature!

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Background to the PETITION – CANADA’S OBLIGATION TO OMAR KHADR


Monia Mazigh is a Canadian writer and an important  human rights activist. She is known for her efforts to free her husband Maher Arar from a Syrian prison. In June 2015 she was appointed National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. She is co-author of  “LRWC and ICLMG Response to the UN”, on Canada’s response to the UN Committee against Torture in the case of Omar Khadr.


 

Noam Chomsky endorses our Petition – Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr


We are honored to have received a statement of support from Professor Noam Chomsky. Professor Chomsky is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures and most important public intellectuals of our times.

It is with great pleasure that we share his voice of support in which he underlines the importance of justice for Omar.

“The imprisonment and shocking treatment of Omar Khadr has been a scandal from the first moment, running right through the disgraceful trial and his subsequent detention. The crime should be ended at once, with sincere apology and compensation. I hope someone is compiling a full record of this story, not only out of respect for Omar, but also to reveal the utter savagery of our culture, both the monstrous acts of the USG and the craven cowardice of Canada – and the fact that so few cared.”

We thank Professor Chomsky for his support. We hope he inspires you to sign our petition.

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Background to the PETITION – CANADA’S OBLIGATION TO OMAR KHADR

PETITION – CANADA’S OBLIGATION TO OMAR KHADR


text petition


At 15 years of age Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen was abandoned to a decade of abuse and torture in Guantanamo Bay U.S. Military Prison and denied fundamental justice in violation of Canadian law and the international conventions to which Canada is a signatory. Such an appalling miscarriage of justice is a disgrace to Canada and, until remedied, should cause us to question our humanity and respect for the rule of law.

Please sign and share the parliamentary e-petition with your family, friends and social media. Call on the government to fulfill our long overdue obligation to Omar Khadr by offering an official apology and appropriate compensation for the wrongs he has suffered.

sign button

The petition is open to Canadian citizens. Only the Parliamentary Clerk of Petitions will have access to your information which will not be made public.


For more information on the Omar Khadr case, see the following links.

This petition is sponsored by Hélène Laverdière, MP Laurier-Saint-Marie.

Omar river2

PETITION – CANADA’S OBLIGATION TO OMAR KHADR


text petition


At 15 years of age Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen was abandoned to a decade of abuse and torture in Guantanamo Bay U.S. Military Prison and denied fundamental justice in violation of Canadian law and the international conventions to which Canada is a signatory. Such an appalling miscarriage of justice is a disgrace to Canada and, until remedied, should cause us to question our humanity and respect for the rule of law.

Please sign and share the parliamentary e-petition with your family, friends and social media. Call on the government to fulfill our long overdue obligation to Omar Khadr by offering an official apology and appropriate compensation for the wrongs he has suffered.

sign button

The petition is open to Canadian citizens. Only the Parliamentary Clerk of Petitions will have access to your information which will not be made public.


For more information on the Omar Khadr case, see the following links.

This petition is sponsored by Hélène Laverdière, MP Laurier-Saint-Marie.

Omar river2

A word of thanks from Omar Khadr to his supporters

Following news of Omar’s grueling 19 hour surgery there has been an outpouring of concern and good will for him. It will be a great relief for you to read a message Omar would like to share with all of his supporters.

Message from Omar:
“I would like to thank you all for taking the time to send me words of encouragement and kindness. It has been a challenging week for me, however, the news of your support has added to my endurance and faith on the road to recovery. I am out of the hospital but still in the initial stages of healing and will do my best to respond to messages when I regain my strength. I’m always honoured to receive your messages”


If you would like to send a message to Omar, the address is freeomar.ca@gmail.com. Or you can mail a card to:

Free Omar Khadr Now Committee,
P.O. Box 57112,
RPO E. Hastings St.
Vancouver, V5K1Z0 B.C.

All messages and cards will be forwarded and will be much appreciated.


Read here the FACTSHEET with key events of the Omar Khadr case. It reveals the circumstances -15 years ago- under which Omar was shot in the back by a U.S. soldier, leaving him severely injured with a damaged shoulder. Now he is suitably treated for this and recovering from major surgery.



In French

Omar vous remercie

La nouvelle de l’intervention chirurgicale d’Omar a déclenché une vague de sympathie. Vous serez soulagé de lire un message d’Omar à toutes les personnes qui lui ont envoyé des vœux de prompt rétablissement.

Message d’Omar:
J’aimerais remercier tous ceux qui ont pris le temps de m’envoyer des messages d’encouragement et de gentillesse. J’ai eu une dure semaine, mais l’écho de votre soutien m’a donné du courage et de la foi sur la route de la guérison. Je suis sorti de l’hôpital, mais toujours dans les premiers stades de la convalescence. Je vais faire tout mon possible pour vous répondre dès que j’aurai repris des forces. Vos messages me font toujours chaud au coeur.


 

Free Omar Newsletter | March 2017


Omar recovering from 19-hour shoulder surgery. We’re wishing him a speedy and healthy recovery | March 13

A number of thoughtful messages of support for Omar and thanks to the Edney family have been sent to our email address.If you would like to send a message, the address is freeomar.ca@gmail.com. Or you can mail a card to:

Free Omar Khadr Now Committee,
P.O. Box 57112,
RPO E. Hastings St.
Vancouver, V5K1Z0 B.C.

All messages and cards will be forwarded and will be much appreciated.

Read article about the surgery: in Metro News


Congratulations to the makers of ‘Guantanamo’s Child’! | March 13

At the the Canadian Screen Awards “Guantanamo’s Child-Omar Khadr” was awarded Best Social/Political Documentary. In his acceptance speech, Director Peter Raymont acknowledged that after a decade of demonization by our government, Omar finally had a chance to tell his story. Watch the remarkable film here and then write your MP, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the Prime Minister and ask why Canada has not settled a 2004 civil suit to remedy Omar for our shocking betrayal of his fundamental rights and complicity in his torture!

Watch video: Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr (WITNESS 47:30 | Unprecedented access and an exclusive interview with Omar Khadr during his first days of freedom).


Trudeau following Harper’s lead in denying justice to illegally imprisoned Muslim men | March 7

Canadians have an obligation to uphold our Charter rights and freedoms, especially when our own government is responsible for grievous violations! Omar Khadr has been shockingly denied fundamental rights by both Liberal and Conservative governments and as long as his 2004 civil suit remains unsettled, a shameful injustice continues. We have an obligation to hold the government accountable. Demand remedy for Omar and the long list of Canadian Muslim men whose lives have been wrecked by their own government.

Read article by Kathleen Copps: Trudeau following Harper’s lead in denying justice to illegally imprisoned Muslim men


Omar Khadr: cela a trop duré [it has been too long]

The Quebec media has given very positive attention to Omar and Dennis Edney’s long legal battle for justice. Here is an example- great editorial published in a major francophone newspaper, Le Devoir-and amazingly supportive comments.

Manon Cornellier says that Omar’s case is marked, from its beginnings, with the stain of arbitrary power and injustice, as well as the denial of Canada’s international obligations. The Liberals at first and then the Conservatives carry the burden. The Liberals eventually recognized their wrongs, but now that they are back to power, they have the duty to end this ordeal.

Read editorial: Omar Khadr: cela a trop duré

Please write the Justice Minister, Prime Minister and your MP to demand that Ottawa fulfill Canada’s obligation to award justice to Omar-a formal apology and settlement of his 2004 civil suit! Letter template below.

Template Letter

Dear Minister Wilson-Raybould:

For 14 years, Canada allowed grave violations of Omar Khadr’s fundamental rights. We not only abandoned him as a child but allowed him to suffer a decade of torture and abuse in Guantanamo before his long-delayed repatriation.

The U.S. Supreme Court (2006) ruled that the U.S. Pentagon military commissions which “charged” and “sentenced” Omar were unconstitutional;
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 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.
Despite these rulings, since Omar’s release on bail from a Canadian prison almost 3 years ago, we have continued to abandoned him and deny him justice.

We call on you Minister Wilson-Raybould to offer a long-overdue apology to Omar and finally award him compensation for Canada’s shocking dereliction of responsibility.

Contact the Minister:
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

Email: mcu@justice.gc.ca

If you are in Vancouver, you can drop in to her office for a visit!

Suite # 104
1245 West Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6H 1G7


Justice Minister please fulfill Canada’s long overdue obligation to Omar Khadr


Dear friends of Omar,

Shortly after the 2015 federal election when Vancouver M.P. Jody Wilson-Raybould was appointed as Minister for Justice, she received a mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau outlining her responsibilities as Justice Minister and Attorney General.

“…You are expected to ensure our legislation meets the highest standards of equity, fairness and respect for the rule of law…that the rights of Canadians are protected, that our work demonstrates the greatest possible commitment to respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…”

Free Omar is focusing for the next weeks on our goal – to get 1000 messages to the Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould – to remind her on her responsibility.

We need your help.

A simple message like this is fine: “Please fulfill Canada’s long overdue obligation to Omar Khadr by providing compensation and apologising for the abuse he suffered”.

Or copy and paste from our Template Letter or the article 30 Ways the Canadian Government Failed Omar.

Thank you for your support!

The Free Omar Campaign


It would be very helpful if you could c.c or b.c.c. us in the email or “like” this message on our Facebook page when you contact the minister, so we will be able to keep track!


Template Letter

Dear Minister Wilson-Raybould:

For 14 years, Canada allowed grave violations of Omar Khadr’s fundamental rights. We not only abandoned him as a child but allowed him to suffer a decade of torture and abuse in Guantanamo before his long-delayed repatriation.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court (2006) ruled that the U.S. Pentagon military commissions which “charged” and “sentenced” Omar were unconstitutional;
  • 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 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.

Despite these rulings, since Omar’s release on bail from a Canadian prison almost 3 years ago, we have continued to abandoned him and deny him justice.

We call on you Minister Wilson-Raybould to offer a long-overdue apology to Omar and finally award him compensation for Canada’s shocking dereliction of responsibility.

Contact the Minister:
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

Email: mcu@justice.gc.ca

If you are in Vancouver, you can drop in to her office for a visit!

Suite # 104
1245 West Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6H 1G7

 


30 ways the Canadian government failed Omar Khadr

As a start of 2017 Free Omar would like to refresh your memory on the following facts. This article is written by Free Omar member and writer Kathleen Copps – for Recoched -in honor of Omar’s 30th birthday (September 19, 2016).


Omar Khadr turns 30 years old today. Released on bail in May 2015, he still faces limitations to his freedom and legal challenges ahead. Canadians must not be complacent about our obligation to him. For 14 years, we allowed grave violations of his fundamental rights, including torture and abuse when he was a child. Our individual liberties and equality before the law depend on the universal enforcement of rights, and remedy for rights that have been violated. On Omar’s 30th birthday, we must acknowledge all the ways Canada failed him.

  1. The Canadian government denied Omar the right to due process, freedom from arbitrary detention, presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, habeas corpus and all other fundamental legal rights.
  2. The Canadian government violated Omar’s Charter and international human rights by allowing his torture.
  3. The Canadian government violated international treaties and conventions (Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict). Because Omar was a juvenile at the time of his capture, he should have been immediately returned to Canada, provided all appropriate care for medical issues, and ensured prompt determination of his case according to international standards of juvenile justice.
  4. The Canadian government, throughout the decade of Omar’s Guantánamo imprisonment (2002-2012) and after his repatriation (September 2012), allowed high-ranking government officials to issue vilifying statements that misled the Canadian public regarding essential details of the case. For example, Vic Toews, the former minister for public safety, held a press conference to announce Omar’s return to Canada and stated, “Early this morning, convicted terrorist Omar Khadr was transferred to Canadian authorities. Omar Khadr is a known supporter of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and a convicted terrorist.”
  5. The Canadian government, throughout the decade of Omar’s Guantánamo incarceration and after his repatriation, allowed high-ranking government officials to interfere in the judicial process. For example, then prime minister Stephen Harper held a press conference the morning of Omar’s first appearance in a Canadian court (Sept. 23, 2013) and stated, “This is an individual who, as you know, pled guilty to very serious crimes including murder and it is very important that we continue to vigorously defend against any attempts, in court, to lessen his punishment for these heinous acts.”
  6. The Canadian government has failed to settle a 2004 civil suit seeking to compensate Omar for the violation of his rights, a violation acknowledged by the Supreme Court, and for the complicity of the Canadian government in his torture and mistreatment.
  7. The Canadian government appealed, unsuccessfully, all legal decisions obtained by Omar’s lawyers including rulings by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, the Alberta Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
  8. The Canadian government spent public funds challenging every court decision favourable to Omar, which resulted in millions of dollars wasted at the expense of Canadian taxpayers.
  9. The Canadian government ignored the July 2012 recommendation of the UN Committee against Torture to “ensure that [Omar Khadr] receives appropriate redress for the human rights violations that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled he experienced.” In 2015, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group reviewed Canada’s performance regarding its obligations under the Convention against Torture and stated that the government had contravened every aspect of its duties in this case, and its failure to prevent, investigate, and punish his torture and ill treatment constitutes a continuing violation of Omar’s rights.
  10. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group found that throughout Omar’s 14-year imprisonment, Canada had failed to provide Omar with legal aid or any other resources to allow him to be fully represented as required by the UN Committee against Torture. (Omar’s dedicated legal team has worked on a pro bono basis throughout the entire legal odyssey).
  11. The Canadian government allowed Omar, while in custody, to be subjected to isolation, solitary confinement, denial of access to education materials, denial of opportunity to write exams, denial of timely medical attention and treatment (which might have saved his eyesight and effectively treated a serious shoulder wound), and denial of contact with his family. (Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, detained children have the right to maintain contact with their family through correspondence and visits.)
  12. The Canadian government failed to establish a prompt investigation of Omar’s treatment at Guantánamo Bay and Bagram prisons, despite overwhelming evidence from a variety of sources showing the use of torture and other treatment prohibited by the UN Committee against Torture.
  13. The Canadian government failed to ensure Omar received a competent medical examination, focused on past torture and ill treatment, and failed to obtain a statement of opinion on such medical findings.
  14. The Canadian government failed to provide any assistance to Omar in order to prevent potential psychological conditions deriving from the torture he experienced.
  15. The Canadian government failed to implement programs for the treatment of physical and psychological trauma, and other types of rehabilitation provided to victims of torture and ill-treatment.
  16. The Canadian government has failed to ensure appropriate redress for the human rights violations that Omar suffered.
  17. The Canadian government has refused to consider awarding Omar compensation as required by the UN Committee against Torture.
  18. The Canadian government has failed to take measures and to prevent public authorities and other persons from participating or being complicit in acts of torture as defined in the Convention Against Torture.
  19. The Canadian government has failed to investigate, determine, and punish Canadian officials for participation in the torture and ill treatment of Omar as confirmed by the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
  20. The Canadian government has failed to investigate and punish Canadian officials and others involved in subjecting Omar, while imprisoned at Bagram and Guantánamo Bay, to torture and treatment prohibited by the UN Committee against Torture.
  21. The Canadian government has continued to wrongly inform the public that Omar had been convicted of serious offences and was therefore reasonably designated as a terrorist and a threat to national security.
  22. The Canadian government has failed to establish an independent judicial body to determine the right to, and award redress to Omar for torture and ill treatment in Bagram and Guantánamo Bay prisons to which Canadian officials contributed through action or inaction.
  23. The Canadian government supported or acquiesced to the use of information obtained by torture in Omar’s sentencing by the Guantánamo Bay Military Tribunal.
  24. The Canadian government failed to adopt policies to ensure that confessions obtained under torture or ill treatment are not admitted in court proceedings and that judgments made by courts admitting such evidence will not be enforced within Canada.
  25. The Canadian government did not oppose Omar’s sentencing by the Guantánamo Bay Military Tribunal, and even supported it. Because it was not a properly constituted court, imposing the sentence violated the four Geneva Conventions and the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
  26. The Canadian government insisted that Omar serve the balance of the illegal Guantánamo Bay Military Tribunal sentence. The sentence itself was a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and contrary to Canadian law, since the “conviction” underlying the sentence was based on a coerced statement obtained through prolonged torture and a denial of due process.
  27. The Canadian government failed to establish and provide adequate education and training about the UN Committee against Torture to police, judges, and others involved in the trial, custody, interrogation, and treatment.
  28. The Canadian government failed to report fully and accurately to the UN Committee against Torture on the active participation of Canada’s agents and officials in breaches of UN Committee against Torture’s obligations in relation to Omar, and to report on its refusal to meet its ongoing obligations to him.
  29. The Canadian government failed to provide information requested by the UN Committee against Torture regarding Omar’s torture.
  30. The Canadian government has failed to establish and provide public disclosure of the facts or publicly acknowledge and apologize and accept responsibility for providing redress as required by the UN Committee against Torture.

Canada cannot erase the shocking failure of successive governments since 2002 to provide justice to Omar. It is time for us to turn the tide and demand remedy for this terrible wrong. We owe it to Omar.

The President Who Will Not Close Guantánamo

one small window...

IMG_3868By the time Barack Obama became president of the United States in 2009, two-thirds of the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay had already been released by George Bush. With 242 remaining, Obama promised to close the prison camp by January 2010. In January 2016, in his final year as president, there are still around 100 prisoners.

As early as 2007, then Illinois senator and Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama declared that “As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions.” The pledge to close Guantánamo was a central plank of his election campaign.

One of his very first actions upon becoming president, on 22 January 2009, was to sign an executive order to review the status of prisoners, impose a moratorium on military tribunals and to close Guantánamo “as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date…

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