Yann Martel endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


A sincere thank you to Yann Martel, internationally-renowned, best selling author and Man Booker Prize winner for ‘Life of Pi’, for endorsing our petition!

Mr. Martel actively supported Omar in the past with his English translation toPoem For Omar(Poème Pour Omar) written by a collective of Quebec writers and artists who expressed their outrage at the injustice Omar has suffered.

Yann Martel, so clearly states why the case of Omar Khadr has profound implications for all Canadians:

Yann Martel quote Omar Khadr


​Please sign the petition and remind the federal government of Canada’s moral and legal obligation to offer redress for the atrocious violations of Omar Khadr’s rights.

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The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee



Yann Martel is one of the prominent Canadians who have endorsed our petition. The list includes, among others, Stephen Lewis, Rudy Wiebe, Senator Kim Pate, Elizabeth May, Michel Tremblay, Nancy Huston, Monia Mazigh, Maher Arar, Gar Pardy, Monique Proulx. Our international endorsers include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky.



Rudy Wiebe endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


A sincere thank you to Rudy Wiebe for endorsing our petition.

Mr. Wiebe (Professor Emeritus University of Alberta Department of English 1967-92, and Officer of the Order of Canada) is one of Canada’s most respected and prolific writers and recipient of many prestigious literary awards including the Governor General’s award for fiction (twice) and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literay Non-fiction.


“I support, as strongly as I am able, this petition regarding Omar Khadr. Like most Canadians, I had followed Omar’s sad history in the media since 2002, but I first “met” him in 2013 when he wrote me a personal letter from Guantanamo Prison after reading my novel Peace Shall Destroy Many (1962) as part of his Alberta high school English course. During Omar’s imprisonment in Alberta we met five times for 2-3 hours each visit,

In January 2015, I provided a statement to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench offering my unreserved support for Omar’s bail application and included the following observations:

‘…I have never heard Omar say one bitter or furious word about anyone or anything that was done to him. Rather, he insists there is enough badness in his past: he wants to focus on the present and possibilities for the future. So we discuss ordinary human things: our family histories (he’s as curious about my Mennonite history as I am about his Islamic heritage); Canada: driving to the hospital on Edmonton streets fills him with happiness at the ordinary life he sees. He would love to come to my church, and meet my friends around Christmas turkey dinner. When I probe more, I find him an insightful thinker, quick to laugh and highly intelligent, open to a great range of ideas, eager to ponder human complexity. He says, “I have to feed my mind and imagination.” And again: “A merciful Creator is watching over us, taking care of us all.”                

In my long lifetime, I have visited dozens of prison inmates (Note: the book Yvonne Johnson and I wrote together: Stolen Life: the Journey of a Cree Woman, 1998.) In all that time, I have not met an inmate more emotionally balanced, more intelligently sensible and warmly humane than Omar Khadr. I would be overjoyed to introduce him to my friends, my church, to have him come and stay in my home. ‘

Omar was released on bail 2 years ago. Now I urge the Canadian government as strongly as I can to fulfill our moral and legal obligation to award him remedy.”


​Please sign the petition and remind the federal government of Canada’s moral and legal obligation to offer redress for the atrocious violations of Omar Khadr’s rights.

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The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Aisha Maniar endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


Aisha Maniar set up the London Guantánamo Campaign in 2006, which has campaigned tirelessly since for the closure of Guantánamo and other similar US-run facilities, an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition, and in particular the return of all remaining British residents to the United Kingdom. The campaign has worked with the families of prisoners and other torture victims of the war on terror and has focused on the case of Omar Khadr since his 2010 trial.

“The injustice of Omar Khadr being the first person to be ‘tried’ under President Obama’s kangaroo court military commissions was difficult to conceive. It was a case tainted by torture evidence and as Omar was tried as an adult for ‘offences’ allegedly ‘committed’ as a minor it was sending out a dangerous message to others in his position. At the very same time, in Europe, an octogenarian former Nazi prison guard was on trial in a youth court for crimes he was alleged to have committed more than half a century ago.

That Canada and the rest of the international community would just sit back and let the US act in this way was beyond wrong. Before Omar Khadr became a cause célèbre in his native Canada, we were demanding his rights outside the US Embassy in London. We continued to demand that Canada then seek his repatriation after it refused to initially.

Our faith in supporting Omar Khadr’s case and our continuing support for his right to justice were vindicated with his release to Canada, and later on bail. He has proved himself to be a friendly and respectful young man and an asset to any society. He works hard to make up for lost time in the education he missed out on and is pursuing a career that cares for and helps people regardless of who they are.

Canada should be proud of Omar Khadr and ashamed of itself and its inability to redress some of the wrongs it has done to Omar after so many years. Taking positive action would be a small but decisive step for Justin Trudeau.”


​Please sign the petition and remind the federal government of Canada’s moral and legal obligation to offer redress for the atrocious violations of Omar Khadr’s rights.

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Thank you!

The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Adel Safty endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


Dr. Adel Safty, Egyptian-Canadian, Professor Emeritis, former head of UN Mission, and columnist for Gulf News (Middle East) endorses our petition. Dr. Safty helped to bring international attention to Canada’s abusive treatment and denial of fundamental justice to Omar Khadr.

The Khadr case is a shocking example of the systematic undermining of the rule of law — a basic foundation of democratic governance. A U.S. judge ruled that ‘evidence’ obtained during interrogations was admissible. This essentially meant that evidence obtained through torture, cruel and inhuman treatment was admissible in court — a travesty of the judicial process in democratic countries and its safeguards to protect the rights of the defendant. Even more shameful, after all this time, Canada has refused to acknowledge the sacrifice of a vulnerable citizen, a child, to the horrors of Guantanamo. And all to satisfy the goals of the U.S. the War on Terror”
For a review of “the cruel and inhuman nature of the treatment meted out to Khadr by his US captors and by the government of his own country” please see Adel’s 2013 article: “When the Rule of Law is Subservient to the Rule of Man”

​Please sign the petition and remind the federal government of Canada’s moral and legal obligation to offer redress for the atrocious violations of Omar Khadr’s rights.

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The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Gail Davidson endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


Gail Davidson – executive director Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada​ endorses our petition.

​From the very early days of Omar’s capture and illegal detainment in notorious U.S. military prisons Bagram and Guantanamo, Gail Davidson and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada ​were critical of Canadian government policy and advocated for Omar’s immediate repatriation. For many years Gail and LRWC have worked with the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group to hold Canada accountable regarding our obligations under the UN Convention against Torture and ongoing violations in the case of Omar Khadr. Another contribution from Gail has been her critical examination of the mainstream media which provided biased and inaccurate information about the case:

​”​Omar Khadr did not “plead guilty”, was not charged with crimes or “war crimes” and was not sentenced. The terms, plead guilty, crimes and sentenced are all words understood to refer to known concepts within our criminal law system. Crimes are violations of statutory penal law; war crimes are serious violations of international humanitarian law; a guilty plea is the accused’s freely and voluntarily given confession in open court to the crime(s) with which he has been charged; statements not made voluntarily are inadmissible; sentencing is the judgement made by a court after an accused is convicted according to law. Imposition of sentence, as done by the Guantanamo Bay military tribunal, “without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people” is a gave breach (i.e. a crime) of the Geneva Conventions and a crime in Canada. In the Omar Khadr case there were no war crimes and no guilty plea and the imposition of sentence was itself a crime against the Geneva Conventions.

These terms invite readers to accept falsehoods which in turn legitimize atrocious violations of Omar Khadr’s rights, prevent the remediation recommended by the United Nations Committee against Torture and shield state authorities from accountability.​”​

​Please sign the petition and remind the federal government of Canada’s moral and legal obligation to offer redress for the atrocious violations of Omar Khadr’s rights.

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The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Nancy Huston endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’

A sincere thank you to Nancy Huston for endorsing our petition!

Ms. Huston, a Calgary-born author and essayist, winner of Governor General Award for French language fiction, officer of the Order of Canada in 2005 and chevalier of l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France believes Canada has an obligation to remedy Omar for the suffering he endured:

“Omar Khadr is one of several people whose stories have shocked me to the core.
I’ll mention just two other examples – Mourad Benchellali, also mired down in a legal morass after having been unjustly detained for yearsat Guantanamo (see his “Le piège de l’aventure”, Editions Laffont,Paris, 2016), and Maher Arar, a Canadian national arrested, detained and tortured simply for having travelled to see family in Syria (seehis wife Monia Mazigh’s book “Hope and Despair”, McClelland& Stewart,Toronto, 2008).

We teach our children to apologize when they make mistakes that have harmful effects on others. Apparently, we’re not supposed to make the same demands for basic morality on our political & legal systems as on our kids.

The miracle is the beautiful light in Omar Khadr’s face.I don’t know who lit the fire of intelligence and compassion that burns there, but it’s obvious that this young man’s energies could find a better outlet than fighting endless legal battles to be acknowledged as the innocent person he is.We can never right the wrongs that were done Omar Khadr … what we can do is clear the way to give this amazing man the future he deserves.”

Please sign and share our petition. Call on the federal government to write the wrongs that were done Omar Khadr.

 

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The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Roger Waters endorses our Petition! – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


Roger Waters endorses our petition!

Roger Waters, is not only former lead singer, bassist and ​songwriter for the iconic English rock bank Pink Floyd, he ​is also a ​active​ supporter of Palestinian ​human rights and ​outspoken critic of Guantanamo U.S. military prison.

As co-founder​ of the London-based Close Guantanamo Campaign Roger is aware of the monumental abuse the U.S. military has inflicted on former detainees, our obligation to redress the violation of their rights, and the need to free those who are still languishing in Guantanamo prison.

Although our petition is only open to Canadians, Roger joins our call on the Canadian government to fulfill our moral and legal obligation to Omar.
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Roger’s latest tour Us + Them begins May 27th. Check the schedule​ ​for concerts in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton​, final performance in Vancouver-and cities all over the U.S..

Come out and thank him for his dedication and commitment to justice-and great music!


Join our action! Please sign and help distribute our petition.

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The Free Omar Khadr Now Committee


Elizabeth May endorses our Petition ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, endorses our petition ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’ and calls on our government  to provide a sincere apology to Omar and offer a just remedy for the monstrous injustice he suffered.

Ms May’s support for Omar goes back to the struggle for his repatriation. In 2013, two years before Omar’s release from an Alberta prison, the Green Party issued a press release:
‘Omar an A​buse of Human Rights and International Law’:
“…T​he Canadian courts have, over the years, been reliable in ruling in Omar’s favour in various challenges highlighting human rights concerns in his case, including two Supreme Court judgments. Canada’s Federal Court found on 23 April 2009 that “Mr. Khadr’s detention in Guantanamo Bay was illegal under both U.S. and international law.”
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On 14 August 2009, the Federal Court of Appeal found his treatment to be: “…a breach of international human rights law respecting the treatment of detainees under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.” The denial of a fair trial violates the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Canada’s Geneva Convention Act, and Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.​…”​


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Gar Pardy endorses our Petition – ‘Canada’s Obligation to Omar Khadr’


Former Director General of Canadian Consular Services says the government of Canada acted maliciously toward Omar Khadr and owes him an apology and compensation.

Gar Pardy, a former Canadian ambassador and former Director General of Canadian Consular Services (1992-2003) endorses our petition.  Mr. Pardy has first hand information of the details of Omar’s case and has been outspoken about the misrepresentation Omar and his family received from successive Canadian governments. For a critical understanding of the case read Mr. Pardy’s “The Long Way Home: the Omar Khadr Saga” in the remarkable 2012 anthology: Omar Khadr, Oh Canada (edited by Janice Williamson). 

Gar Pardy:

“I have been assisting Omar Khadr and other members of his family since 1996.  In the intervening years Omar and other members of his family have encountered overt discriminatory actions by Canadian governments based on erroneous and malevolently interpreted information. Omar has been the most seriously affected by these actions and in the fifteen years since his imprisonment in Afghanistan and subsequent transfer to the American prison at Guantanamo Bay he was abused and tortured by the government of the United States.  In this the government of Canada acted maliciously, denying him the assistance he had every right to expect.  An  apology and compensation is long overdue and it is to be hoped that both will occur in the coming days.”

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The case of Omar Khadr is an example of horrible injustice in a modern democratic state”


In May 2014, a year before Omar was released on bail from an Alberta prison, he received a phone call from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Desmond Tutu is a vocal critic of Guantanamo and the U.S. military commission which ‘convicted” Omar. Tutu compares it to similar practices of detention without trial in South Africa under apartheid: “Many people were incarcerated for endless periods, held in solitary confinement simply on the say so of some lackey of an unjust and oppressive system.”

Regarding Omar’s case, Archbishop Tutu later stated:

“The case of Omar Khadr is an example of horrible injustice in a modern democratic state. Omar Khadr was not even tried in an open court, and this is apart from the fact that when he was arrested, he was only 15 years of age-a minor by every credible assessment. It is unconscionable that following a travesty of a trial, where he was treated as adult in a vicious kangaroo court, his own country was an accomplice in holding him in prison.

It has been galling in the extreme to discover that those in other countries, who even helped us overthrow our oppressive system of apartheid, should have no qualms, it seems, to employ the same discredited methods as those of a system they purported to oppose.”

Desmond Tutu recognises that Omar Khadr suffered a horrible injustice by Canada, a modern democratic state.

Call on the federal government to fulfill our legal and moral obligation to Omar.

Please sign and share our petition:

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The Free Omar Khadr Now campaign