DONATE TO THE FREE OMAR FUND

 


TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FREE OMAR 2017 FUND, you have the following options:

  • 2) By Cheque, you can send to: Free Omar Campaign; 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 Campaign; VanCity Credit Union, Branch 13; Account number: 531590; FreeOmar.ca@gmail.com


On May 7, 2015, after a 13 year imprisonment, Omar Khadr was finally freed on bail. His ordeal is far from over.

There are still legal battles ahead. The Free Omar Campaign will continue its work until Omar is completely free to come and go where he wants, and until he is acquitted of all illegitimate charges applied by the widely condemned, extrajudicial Guantanamo military ‘court’. The violation of Omar’s rights must be properly remedied.

We will continue to support Omar’s pro bono lawyers with their mounting costs.

Upcoming 2017 court challenges are:

  • Civil lawsuit against the Canadian government for complicity in his arbitrary detention and cruel and inhumane treatment at the hands of the United States;
  • Appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review in the U.S. to vacate all Omar’s Guantanamo Bay ‘convictions’.

We continue to need your help and ask you to support the Free Omar 2017 Fundraising campaign. The money goes directly to Omar’s defence with no administration fees.

Your contribution makes his defence possible and brings Omar’s case closer to justice.

 

Thank you!

The Free Omar Campaign.

 


 

picture Dennis and Omar; courtesy of Krishna Lalbiharie


 

Happy Birthday Omar Khadr – “Finally Home”

The night before his 29th birthday Omar can finally say farewell to persistent reminders that he is not a free man.

Justice June Ross of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled on Friday September 18 that Omar can remove the electronic bracelet he has been wearing since his release from prison on May 7 this year, and that he is allowed to visit his family in Toronto.

She said that the conditions imposed on Omar were “unusually restrictive.”

The judge told Omar that when he will visit his grandparents in Toronto this fall, he must be joined by his lawyer and he has to meet with the authorities there.

Last week, Ross had already lifted Omar’s strict curfew conditions to make it possible for him to attend evening classes to become an emergency medical technician.

Before lifting many of the restrictions, the judge consulted with Omar’s bail supervisor who reported that Omar had met all his bail conditions up to now.

This was the deciding factor in the judge’s positive ruling on September 18.


To help Dennis Edney, Omar’s pro bono lawyer, in the ongoing legal battles please go to Free Omar Fund.


Omar Khadr Changed My Life

By Sara Naqwi – Free Omar Khadr Now


In helping edit this article, a personal note of deep gratitude to Marlene Cuthbert, who was passionate and completely devoted to seeing justice brought to her friend, Omar, until her last days.
Marlene passed away on March 25, 2015.


I was twenty-five years old when I first saw Omar Khadr’s young face, staring back at me through my laptop screen. The innocence in his big brown eyes combined with the sombre expression drew me in; the straight-backed posture which is typically alien on a teenager confirmed he was staring into the lens of a camera for a passport photo, perhaps being told by the cameraman to remain expressionless, yet the photograph still captured his cheerful disposition. There was a trace of a faint moustache on his baby face, with a hint of a smile in his eyes and mouth. This was a photograph of a young boy, who was barely fourteen years old.

I was completing my final year of Bachelors in English from a Canadian university and had decided to take a course, “Introduction to Law and Justice”, out of curiosity. One of the assignments I was asked to write about was on Omar Khadr’s case, and that is how I came to know about the young man who was to become an integral part of my life eventually. When I scanned the details of his case online, I was overwhelmed by the amount of heavy information revolving around this child. The words Guantanamo Bay, torture, war on terror, indefinite detention combined with the images of hooded men in orange jumpsuits, chained like animals and caged under the blazing sun in Cuba, where the prison is based, confounded me. I knew it was wrong – who wouldn’t be horrified by this abnormal treatment of human beings? – but I couldn’t fully appreciate the gravity of the situation. Even though I was aware of how Muslims had suddenly become targets of racism since 9/11, and Continue reading

Join Bail Hearing Omar Khadr, March 24, 2015


On the morning of Tuesday, March 24, Omar will be back in court at the Court of Queen’s Bench Alberta. His lawyers will present arguments that, if successful, will lead to his release on bail pending the result of the appeal in the United States of his Guantanamo Military Commission conviction. Public and media interest will be very high and we hope to clearly communicate to Canadians that Omar has strong support within the community from a diverse group of Edmontonians. Please join us at the courthouse on Tuesday morning to get that message across!

08:30 – Assemble at the Three Bananas Café on Churchill Square. We will have Orange Ribbons available for all to show solidarity.
08:55 – Process as a group to the Court of Queen’s Bench.
09:00 – Brief assembly in front of the Court. This is the key media moment.
10:00 – Expected time for the bail hearing to begin. Courtroom # to be determined.

Our key focus is to get the largest possible group out for the Tuesday morning procession and assembly. If we can amass a large number of supporters to fill the courtyard out front, it sends a strong positive message to Canadians who will watch this on the evening news. For those with interest and time, the hearings will probably run all day Tuesday and again on Wednesday. If you are approached by media at this event, there are two key messages we would like to communicate to Canadians:

  • Omar deserves true justice. None of us would be content to have our family members subjected to the injustices that are inherent in the Guantanamo Military Commissions that ‘convicted’ Omar.
  • Omar is welcome here. We are here to let Edmontonians know that there are many reasonable, intelligent people here today who know Omar personally; all are convinced that he will make a very valuable contribution to our community.

Please confirm your attendance [via this link] so we can plan to have enough Orange Ribbons ready AND so we can advise the court if an overflow crowd is expected.


For more insight into Omar’s legal odyssey, his journey of life and his personal character see: [Fact Sheet Omar Khadr]


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


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 →


From Omar Khadr and Guantanamo to the Rule of Law in an Age of Terror | Feb 4

Lawyer Dennis Edney to Speak at Carleton University

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-28 om 18.14.08Dennis Edney, lawyer for Omar Khadr for more than 10 years, will give a lecture at Carleton University on Feb. 4, 2015 called From Omar Khadr and Guantanamo to the Rule of Law in an Age of Terror.

Edney will discuss Omar Khadr, Guantanamo and the unconstitutional setting in which Omar was ‘convicted’ as a ‘war criminal’. Human rights experts decried the process as deeply flawed. According to Edney, the case raises serious concerns about the rule of law, citizenship and human rights embedded in the Geneva conventions and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Azrieli Theatre 101, Carleton University
Parking: Lot 1 (behind MacOdrum Library)
For additional information: louise.de.la.gorgendiere@carleton.ca
Note: Seating is limited

About Dennis Edney:
Edney is a well-known defense lawyer who has acted pro bono for Omar Khadr for more than 10 years. He has appeared at all levels of court on Khadr’s behalf, including the Supreme Court of Canada and the United States Supreme Court. He has received a number of human rights and other awards for his legal work, and he is a bencher of the Law Society of Alberta.

About Omar Khadr: 
Printable Factsheet Omar Khadr

Media Inquiries:
Chris Cline
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 1391
christopher_cline@carleton.ca

 

Khadr argues U.S. judge violating federal law

By Colin Perkel — Nov 6 2014

TORONTO – The judge presiding over Omar Khadr’s challenge to his conviction by U.S. military commission may himself be committing a federal crime by maintaining a law practice, according to allegations contained in new court documents.

In an unusual application to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week, lawyers for the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner call for Judge William (Bill) Pollard to be thrown off the panel dealing with the Canadian’s appeal.

They argue that two federal statutes — one dating back 200 years — clearly prohibit a judge from continuing to work as a lawyer.

“Khadr has a right to a properly qualified court,” Sam Morison, Khadr’s Pentagon-appointed lawyer, said from Washington.

“If there’s a disqualified judge, that undermines any decision that they make.”

Read the full article here > http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/11/06/khadr-argues-u-s-judge-violating-federal-law/#.VFyQGPnF8Tu

Op-ed by Omar Khadr on National Security & Human Rights

Op-ed by Omar Khadr, Bowden Prison Canada | 2014 10 28

27 Omar KhadrTen years ago the Canadian government established a judicial inquiry into the case of Maher Arar. That inquiry, over the course of more than two years of ground-breaking work, examined how Canada’s post-Sept. 11 security practices led to serious human rights violations, including torture.

At that same time, 10 years ago and far away from a Canadian hearing room, I was mired in a nightmare of injustice, insidiously linked to national security. I have not yet escaped from that nightmare.

As Canada once again grapples with concerns about terrorism, my experience stands as a cautionary reminder. Security laws and practices that are excessive, misguided or tainted by prejudice can have a devastating human toll.

A conference Wednesday in Ottawa, convened by Amnesty International, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and the University of Ottawa, will reflect on these past 10 years of national security and human rights. I will be watching, hoping that an avenue opens to leave my decade of injustice behind.

I was apprehended by U.S. forces during a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002. I was only 15 years old at the time, propelled into the middle of armed conflict I did not understand or want. I was detained first at the notorious U.S. air base at Bagram, Afghanistan; and then I was imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for close to 10 years. I have now been held in Canadian jails for the past two years.

From the very beginning, to this day, I have never been accorded the protection I deserve as a child soldier. And I have been through so many other human rights violations. I was held for years without being charged. I have been tortured and ill-treated. I have suffered through harsh prison conditions. And I went through an unfair trial process that sometimes felt like it would never end.

I am now halfway through serving an eight-year prison sentence imposed by a Guantánamo military commission; a process that has been decried as deeply unfair by UN human rights experts. That sentence is part of a plea deal I accepted in 2010.

Remarkably, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided in my favour on two separate occasions; unanimously both times. Over the years, in fact, I have turned to Canadian courts on many occasions, and they have almost always sided with me. That includes the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Alberta Court of Appeal.

In its second judgement, the Supreme Court found that Canadian officials violated the Charter of Rights when they interrogated me at Guantánamo Bay, knowing that I had been subjected to debilitating sleep deprivation through the notorious ‘frequent flyer’ program. The Court concluded that to interrogate a youth in those circumstances, without legal counsel, “offended the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.” That ruling was almost five years ago.

I had assumed that a forceful Supreme Court ruling, coming on top of an earlier Supreme Court win, would guarantee justice. Quite the contrary, it seemed to only unleash more injustice.

Rather than remedy the violation, the government delayed my return from Guantánamo to Canada for a year and aggressively opposed my request not to be held in a maximum security prison. It is appealing a recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision that I should be dealt with as a juvenile under the International Transfer of Offenders Act.

No matter how convincingly and frequently Canadian courts side with me, the government remains determined to deny me my rights.

I will not give up. I have a fundamental right to redress for what I have experienced.

But this isn’t just about me. I want accountability to ensure others will be spared the torment I have been through; and the suffering I continue to endure.

I hope that my experience – of 10 years ago and today – will be kept in mind as the government, Parliament and Canadians weigh new measures designed to boost national security. Canadians cannot settle for the easy rhetoric of affirming that human rights and civil liberties matter. There must be concrete action to ensure that rights are protected in our approach to national security.

National security laws and policies must live up to our national and international human rights obligations. I have come to realize how precious those obligations are.

That is particularly important when it comes to complicity in torture, which is unconditionally banned.

I have also seen how much of a gap there is in Canada when it comes to meaningful oversight of national security activities, to prevent violations.

And I certainly appreciate the importance of there being justice and accountability when violations occur.

I want to trust that the response to last week’s attacks will not once again leave human rights behind. Solid proof of that intention would be for the government to, at a minimum, end and redress the violations I have endured.


Originally published: Khadr: Misguided security laws take a human toll by Omar Khadr, Ottawa Citizen | 2014 10 28

Written in the context of the event: Arar +10: National Security and Human Rights a Decade Later | 2014 10 29


Omar Khadr wins right to sue government for conspiring with US to torture him

The recent decision of Justice Mosley approving Omar’s Amended Statement of Claim (technically the Amended, Amended, Amended Fresh as Amended) marks a recognition that the acts of Canada in relation to Omar’s treatment in Guantanamo Bay need a far greater level of scrutiny than we had previously considered.27 Omar Khadr

To be clear, Justice Mosley’s approval of the Amended Statement of Claim makes no decision about whether or not Canada acted badly in its dealings with Omar while he was captive. But while the earlier versions of the Claim focused on the events surrounding Omar’s interrogation at the hands of Canadian officials, the new version looks back to when Omar was first captured, and includes the time right up to his return to Canada.

This opens up the door to a much broader evaluation of Canada’s actions and will allow the court to answer fundamental questions about the relationship between Canada and the US. Was there a conspiracy to hold Omar captive or to otherwise abuse his rights? Did Canada have a responsibility to pay closer attention to Omar’s treatment while in Guantanamo Bay? Did Canada have a duty not to assist the US authorities’ prosecution of Omar? These and other questions will now be in front of the Court as this case goes forward.

This success is not the end of the story. But perhaps with this new Statement of Claim we are one step closer to getting a full telling of Omar’s time from capture to today and the extent to which our Government participated in that process.

A copy of the Order of Justice Mosley can be found by clicking the following link: Khadr v. Canada, October 23, 2014


Source: Khadr’s Amended Statement of Claim Receives Court Sanction by Phillips Gill LLP | 2014 Oct 24


More on the matterOmar Khadr wins right to to expand $20M suit vs. Canadian government by Colin Perkel, Canadian Press | 2014 Oct 23