Dennis Edney awareness tour in the UK for Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr Fund for Dennis EdneyDONATION BUTTON:  < PLEASE HELP FUND THIS AWARENESS TOUR FOR OMAR KHADR>Omar Khadr tortured Canadian Child

12 – 20 March 2014 – Omar Khadr’s lawyer Dennis Edney QC speaking tour hosted by the London Guantanamo Campaign.

Talks and events

Wednesday 12 March 
– Omar Khadr and the Betrayal of International Law: a public meeting with Dennis Edney, chaired by Professor Bill Bowring at Garden Court Chambers, London. Organised by CAMPACC, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and the London Guantánamo Campaign.

  • time: 6.30 -8.30 pm
  • place:  Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A

Thursday 13 March 
– Defending Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner: The struggle to free Omar Khadr. Lecture with Dennis Edney at York University Centre for Applied Human Rights.

Friday 14 March 
– An audience with Dennis Edney QC, chaired by Dr Douglas Guilfoyle at the UCL Faculty of Laws.

and
– Where is the Law in War? An Analysis of Omar Khadr’s case. Organised by the Westminster Law Review.

Monday 17 March
– Afternoon lecture with Dennis Edney at Birkbeck College, University of London. Organised by a coalition of student societies.Omar Khadr 4250 days in jail

and
– Dennis Edney talk on Omar Khadr at the Veterans for Peace UK event.

Tuesday 18 March
– Lecture Dennis Edney at Queen Mary, University of London, organised by the Amnesty society.

  • time: 4.30 – 5.30 pm
  • place: Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

and
– Amnesty International event with Talks from: Dennis Edney, Aaf Post and Andy Worthington about Omar Khadr at the Human Rights Action Centre.

  • time: 7.00 – 9.00 pm
  • place: Human Rights Action Centre, 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA.

Thursday 20 March
– Q&A with Dennis Edney QC lawyer of Omar Khadr former Guantánamo Bay prison inmate at Amnesty St John’s Wood event

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Omar Khadr | This week’s Events – London Ontario, Vernon B.C. and Edmonton Alberta

Vernon B.C.: TUESDAY January 28 at 6.30 p.m. | In the upstairs lounge at the Bean Scene

Event by Amnesty Vernon to discuss Omar Khadr.

Local performer Christine Pilgrim had recently attended an moving talk by Omar Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney. She will talk about the human rights violations endured by Omar and invite those who also believe in the power of the pen to address letters on his behalf.

“Dennis Edney ended his moving talk about Omar Khadr’s situation by saying, ‘The only crime worse than willful inhumanity is the crime of indifference, of silence, of forgetting.’”

Admission to the event is free and open to everyone, from youth to senior. For more information, e-mail info@amnestyvernon.ca or call 250-542 4152.

London, Ontario EventLondon, Ontario: WEDNESDAY January 29, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | In the UCC Room 67

Screening of the documentary “You Don’t Like the Truth: Four Days Inside Guantanamo” followed by human rights discussion with Law Professor Michael Lynk. Come out and discuss the truth about Omar Khadr.

Event is sponsored by MSA and Amnesty International at Western. For more information contact Homaira at HSIDDIQ5@gmail.com

Edmonton, Alberta: FRIDAY January 31, 5 p.m. – 6.20 p.m. | UTC-07 Telus Centre 150 University of Alberta

Amnesty International – U of A Chapter organizes “The Friend I’ve Never Met” as a part of University of Alberta’s International Week.

Human rights advocacy work has an emotional impact, both on those who benefit from advocacy and on those who perform it. We will explore the connection between social justice work, solidarity and mental health with panelists such as Dennis Edney, defence lawyer for Omar Khadr, and Dr. Arlette Zinck, educator and advocate for Omar Khadr. Each panelist will share their experience and how their life and sense of community waschanged. A question and answer period will follow.

Amnesty The Friend I've Never MetFEATURING:
Dennis Edney, QC; Dr. Arlette Zinck, King’s University College; and other panelists

Sponsored by Amnesty International.

Please bring your friends, come listen to some new perspectives and join in on the conversation! Following the event, there will be a reception featuring student groups tabling about their advocacy work and refreshments!!!

Politicians Speaking Out!

CONSERVATIVES

Tory MP shares government’s prejudices about Omar Khadr

In November 2013 we contacted Tory MP, Laurie Hawn, informing him about the latest facts of Omar’s case and asking when his government will stop using Omar Khadr as a political scapegoat to win votes. His unsubstantiated response adds to the government’s prejudicial rhetoric and shows his lack of knowledge about the case. Helen Sadowski of the Free Omar Khadr Now campaign explains the falsehoods in his letter point by point. … Continue reading .

GREEN PARTY OF CANADA

Green Party of Canada

Press Release Oct. 28, 2013 | Omar: An Abuse of Human Rights and International Law

Last Friday, Omar Khadr, a former child soldier, was denied a request to be moved to a provincial prison to serve out the remainder of his highly questionable sentence. “It is sadly evident that even after more than a year of his being back in Canada, programming has not been put in place that recognizes his right to treatment and support for all he suffered as a child soldier,” said Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Green Party of Canada Leader.

Omar Khadr will now remain in a maximum federal prison and will not likely be able to meet parole requirements. In spite of his desire to learn, he may also be denied the opportunity of education.

read more here: Press Release | Omar: An Abuse of Human Rights and International Law, Oct. 28, 2013 and Green Party | Backgrounder – Omar Khadr

 
Our response:

Dear Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada:

The Free Omar Khadr Committee would like to thank the Green Party-in particular Elizabeth May and Joe Foster-for yesterday’s media release which highlighted the recent denial of Omar Khadr’s court application, the highly inflammatory statements of Stephen Harper, and many of the shocking violations of Omar’s fundamental rights in a decade-long history of abuse. Your ongoing commitment to justice for this vulnerable young Canadian is much appreciated.

Our committee seeks to remind Canadians that our government has a legal duty to release Omar who has been illegitimately imprisoned (largely in solitary confinement) since 2002 when he was only 15 years old.

We urge the Green Party and all fair-minded Canadians to:

1. Demand the immediate release of Omar Khadr and ensure violations of his rights are investigated and remedied.

2. Protest against the Canadian authorities who wrongly claim that the illegal Guantanamo Bay sentencing gives them the right to continue to imprison Omar.

3. Condemn all prejudicial statements and shocking interference in a judicial process by government officials particularly Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney, and former Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews.

Without independent, impartial courts and the equal application of laws, the rights of all citizens are threatened. The struggle for justice for Omar Khadr is in the interest of all Canadians and we are hopeful it will be a topic for the Green Party in the upcoming session of Parliament.

Sincerely,

Free Omar Khadr Now Committee

P.S. Thank you so much for including the website in your release! (www.freeomarakhadr.com)

SENATOR ROMEO DALLAIRE

[+] Speech on Omar Khadr in the Senate by LGen the Hon. Romeo Dallaire, Senator
[+] Petition Senator Dallaire | Bring back Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay

Dallaire has been an outspoken advocate for Omar’s rights, as former child soldier. In July 2012, Dallaire set up a petition putting pressure on Public Safety Minister, at that time, Vic Toews, to honour the plea bargain deal Khadr agreed to in 2010.
35,000 concerned citizens signed the petition. Omar was repatriated in September 2012.

“Omar has been 10 years in jail already, in a jail so many have considered illegal and inappropriate. He’s been tortured to get testimony out of him and through all that has seen no support whatsoever.
Now that he’s back in Canada the government should simply clam up. It has no more duty in regards to this individual. He’s now within the process of our judicial system and in that context the executive has no right to interfere in the judicial process.” ~Dallaire, Sept. 2012.

LIBERALS

“Omar Khadr needs to be treated the way we treat Canadians according to the rules that exist, according to the laws and principles that govern. He should be treated like any Canadian who as been incarcerated outside of the country. We need to be fair to the way we treat Canadians.” ~Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Aug. 2013, Halifax.
Trudeau isn’t ruling out compensation for Omar for the time he served in Guantanamo Bay.

[+] Official Statement by Liberal Leader Bob Rae on Omar’s repatriation, Sept. 2012.

“Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was a child soldier. It is extremely unfortunate that it took the Conservative government this long to fulfil its responsibility to bring him back to Canada. Now Mr. Khadr will serve the remainder of his sentence under the supervision of the Canadian correctional system, and we can ensure that he receives proper treatment and rehabilitation.” ~Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, Sept. 2012

“The over-the-top rhetoric that we’ve come to expect from this minister of Public Safety is most unfortunate, I hope it doesn’t influence the parole board’s deliberations.” ~Liberal MP Sean Casey, Sept. 2012.

NDP

ndp“Today, the Conservatives ended nearly a decade of unnecessary delays and allowed Omar Khadr to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Canada. Canada is the last Western country to repatriate their citizens from the discredited Guantanamo prison system.
Mr. Khadr’s return to Canada was inevitable, yet the Conservatives chose to drag this process out for years at great cost to taxpayers. Their mishandling has hurt our relationship with the United States, our closest ally, and tarnished Canada’s reputation on the international stage.
Both the Supreme Court of Canada and the U.S. Supreme Court, based on the full facts of this case, have found that the military commission proceedings in Guantanamo violated both U.S. domestic law and Canada’s international human rights obligations.
Conservatives have previously faced court judgments against them for their mishandling of the case and failure to respect human rights.
The government should now allow Mr. Khadr to be handled by Canadian authorities in accordance with Canadian law, free from interference.” ~[+] Official Statement from NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar on Omar’s repatriation, Sept. 2012.

“This government decided to play politics with a straightforward foreign affairs case. Rather than simply bringing its citizen home from Guantanamo Bay as other countries did, they tried to polarize and turn this into something else.
They’ve obviously screwed up massively when it comes to this case, so hopefully they won’t do any further damage when it comes to our reputation as a country.” ~NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar, Sept 2012.

“Mr. Khadr was the only Western citizen left in Guantanamo. And that’s because other countries, Australia for instance and others, had repatriated their citizens back to their countries. We had not done that, we had foot dragged. We’d frankly been pushed in the end by the Americans to take him back. The Conservatives were very stubborn on returning Khadr to Canada, not living up to their responsibility to deal with one of our citizens. Khadr’s prolonged detainment in Guantanamo Bay has already been established as a human rights violation and now the government should explain why they resisted bringing him back to Canada. The question now is, what’s the government’ s explanation for having waited so long to have him come home? Just what was it that made the government so intransigent on this issue? That’s going to be an issue for the next number of months for us to delve into” ~NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar, CTV News Sept 2012.

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Lecture Nov 12 | Attorney Samuel Morison, US Department of Defence

The last in the series of three lectures in Edmonton about Omar Khadr.

OMAR KHADR | THE LAWMorison

With:     Attorney Samuel Morison, US Department of Defence
When:   Tuesday, November 12, 19:00
Where:  The Atrium at King’s University College, 9125 – 50 Street, Edmonton

Samuel Morison has practiced law for more than 20 years and is a national recognized expert on federal executive clemency and the restoration of civil rights. He will speak about Omar Khadr’s appeal before the US Federal Court.

[+] the poster of the lectures

[+] the video of the second lecture, by Brigadier General (ret) Dr. Stephen Xenakis

Edmonton Events, Do not miss them

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DENNIS EDNEY | PRESENTATIONDennis

With:     Mr. Dennis Edney, Q.C., Omar Khadr’s defense counsel.
When:   Thursday, October 17, 2013, 19:00
Where:  Room 231/237 U of A Law Centre, Edmonton

CLAIHR U of A is pleased to host a presentation by Mr. Dennis Edney, Q.C., Omar Khadr’s defense counsel. Mr. Edney has agreed to speak to Faculty of Law students concerning Omar Khadr’s highly publicized case. There will be an opportunity for questions following the presentation.

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OMAR KHADR | THE MAN 

With:     Brigadier General (ret) Dr. Stephen XenakisXenakis.
When:   Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 19:00
Where:  University of Alberta Building ETLC Rm-1001, Edmonton

Although Mr. Harper and the Canadian government have chosen to demonize Omar Khadr, there are significant faces from the U.S Military and Canadian public who have actually met and spent time with Mr. Khadr and find that he is a compassionate human being who poses no threat to anyone.

Brigadier General (ret) Dr. Stephen Xenakis is a psychiatrist who has spent hundreds of hours with Omar Khadr over the past 5 years. Come out and join the discussion about his experiences with Omar in Guantanamo Bay and raise your own questions and concerns. Refreshments will be provided.

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OMAR KHADR | THE LAWMorison

With:     Attorney Samuel Morison, US Department of Defence
When:   Tuesday, November 12, 19:00
Where:  The Atrium at King’s University College, 9125 – 50 Street, Edmonton

Samuel Morison has practiced law for more than 20 years and is a national recognized expert on federal executive clemency and the restoration of civil rights. He will speak about Omar Khadr’s appeal before the US Federal Court.

 

July 2013 | Day Parole for Omar Khadr?

Omar Khadr is finally eligible for day parole. But when will he have justice?

In Canada we do still have a relatively civilized justice system. As we saw in the US state cables, Canada’s justice system was deemed too civilized to convict Omar Khadr and that is why he was kept in Guantanamo and Bagram since he was 15.

As we all know, there is nothing lawful about the conviction of Omar Khadr. The specially created court, the retroactively applied law, the tampered with and restricted evidence and testimony, the indefinite detention and torture leading up to his detention all resulted in a verdict no country with any respect for the law can accept. Even the US itself does not accept this court’s rulings as it showed in the overturned verdict for former Gauntanamo inmate Hamdan.

The treatment of Omar Khadr over the past 11 years is indeed a tragedy for him. It is impossible to look clearly at what that child, now man, has been through and not feel the scope of this. But the tragedy for Canada is far greater. Our treatment of Omar Khadr is so far below any human rights disaster we have ever been responsible for that I think most Canadians cannot face what we have done. We are alone in the world in our treatment of out citizen at Guantanamo. I believe this case has fundamentally changed who Canadians are and the way in which we can view ourselves.

While Omar still has his integrity, we have lost ours.

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Hope You Are Okay, Omar Khadr

By Ayesha Nasir, Karachi, Pakistan

omar khadrI have something in common with Omar Khadr. We are both fans of “The Hunger Games” – the best-selling trilogy by Suzanne Collins. One of the most obvious differences between us is that I have not spent ten years of my youth in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As a 15-year-old, Omar Khadr was captured by the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan, when he was wounded twice in the back in a fire fight, which broke out in July, 2002. It was alleged that the teenager had killed a US Special Forces soldier during the fire fight. He had been in an Afghan compound, where he was a translator for his father’s acquaintance. From eastern Afghanistan, Omar was taken to Bagram in a critical condition; he had sustained wounds, which lead to “three holes in his body” and “shrapnel in his face”.

The native-born Canadian remained in the US custody for ten long years, during which his family and activists all over the world pressured the Canadian government to “bring him home”. Heather Marsh, a journalist vocally supporting Omar Khadr’s release, pointed out how “it is legal for US soldiers to kill children”, whereas “it is a war crime for children to kill US soldiers”, raising a valid concern about the double standards, which led to Omar Khadr being alleged with a war crime in the first place.

Omar Khadr’s imprisonment was handed out despite compelling evidence, which stated otherwise, while the United States and Canada ignored the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (to which they are signatories) and went ahead with his imprisonment. It was eight years later, in 2010, that the Canadian Supreme Court acknowledged the blatant abuse of Omar’s rights as a human and as a Canadian; the interrogation, which the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) made the “detained youth suspect” undergo was regarded as “a clear violation of Canada’s international human rights obligations” by the Canadian Supreme Court, who is known for its apparent impartiality and execution of justice.

At the time, Audrey Macklin, a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, wondered if the verdict of the Supreme Court of Canada on (a) that the government has violated Khadr’s Charter rights”, and (b) that Canada “should seek repatriation”, was “not enough to motivate this government to act” then there was no saying as to “what is enough to motivate this government to do the right thing”.

“I cried several times during the interrogation as a result of this treatment and pain. During this interrogation, the more I answered the questions and the more I gave him the answers he wanted, the less pain was inflicted on me. I figured out right away that I would simply tell them whatever I thought they wanted to hear, in order to keep them from causing me such pain” – from Omar’s affidavit statement on February 22, 2008.

Testimonies from other prisoners, such as Moazzam Begg, give detailed reports on the treatment he was made to undergo; David Hicks, an Australian prisoner, declared that he “saw US soldiers dragging Omar from his cage to a room used for interrogation just opposite from mine. For at least an hour, I heard him scream and yell in pain as they abused him. Omar was yelling, ‘Why are you doing this? … Please stop. … Somebody help me!’ There seemed to be no point to this brutality except to hurt him and break his will.”

It appears that living in the black hole for human rights did not break Omar’s spirit, for he was sent home to Canada on September 30, 2012, where, as of now, he remains incarcerated in a maximum security prison. Andy Worthington, a journalist, who has been following Omar Khadr’s case closely, admits that the Canadian government could keep him in custody for roughly half a decade more; an outcome of a plea deal made in October, 2010. Despite how reports on his case acknowledge his good behaviour during his ten-year imprisonment, parole remains nowhere near until at least 2015. After having spent considerable time with him, two of Omar Khadr’s US military lawyers describe him as “an intelligent young man” who possesses a “love of learning”.

This “love of learning” has been explored by Arlette Zinck, a professor of English at King’s University College in Edmonton, who took up the task of designing and delivering a study plan for Omar Khadr, while he was detained at Guantanamo Bay. The coursework assigned to him was something he pursued eagerly, a clear sign of a young mind being freshly exposed to a world of literature. As a teenager myself, I do not find it surprising, when interaction with Professor Zinck revealed that Omar identifies most to the character of Primrose Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” trilogy, regarding her as the “moral centre” of the story. Through correspondence via letters and classes held inside prison, Zinck notes a “remarkable” thing about her unique student that regardless of his “exceptionally difficult circumstances”, he manages to find “a way to stay positive and hopeful when many grown men would not.” This is depicted in the “impressive” levels of “energy and determination he puts into his studies”.

Unpopular belief will see Omar Khadr as a political pawn in history by those, who wanted to justify and escape from their criminal actions. There are people, who view Omar Khadr as a radicalized terrorist; despite him having served more than his sentence under an unfair trial, they refuse to allow him to walk as a free man. The boy who will “forever be a murderer” for many is now a young man of 26, whom they do not want to walk as a free man, pursue his education, put his past behind him or even reunite with his family. Being a child soldier, who has been consistently deprived of the most basic of his rights, has put Omar Khadr in a unique position in history, the likes of which were seen somewhere around the second World War.

True rehabilitation, however, is a psychological experience, which will require efforts on the part of Omar, his family, supporters and legal team – the wounds left by the US military penal system will take time to heal. Rehabilitation is part of Corrections Canada’s philosophy and the attempt by the Professor Zinck and Omar’s legal team depicts, how false are the distortions surrounding Omar Khadr. His portrayal in the media is polarized, and, as Pakistanis, who can know better than us about the media’s role in electing the bad guy in the tale. The debate rages on the morality of acts done in the name of love and war, but as we have seen in the case of Omar Khadr, nothing was ever fair.

A decade ago, I was sitting in my school’s library watching “Dumbo” (1941), a Disney classic, and hiding tears over the imprisonment of a baby elephant’s mother, just because she was trying to protect him and appeared a threat while doing so. That is when it struck me: the bad guy in the tale is not always the one everyone points out to be. From this childhood lesson, I have learnt that although the true justice may never be handed out, it is not futile to pursue it. The struggle of the human spirit to resist injustice is a real one; the efforts of conscious individuals, who seek to bring pain to a closure, will echo in the pages of history for those ahead, who will look back and wonder, why there was so much silence for so painful a wound.

“About myself, what can I say? We hold on to hope in our hearts and the love from others to us and that keeps us going until we reach our happiness” – Omar Khadr to Arlette Zinck, in a letter dated January 22, 2009.

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Letter writing campaign against Vic Toew’s denial of a media request, interview Omar Khadr

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Dear Supporters of Omar Khadr,

In light of recent media coverage of Vic Toew’s denial of a media request for an interview with Omar Khadr, the Vancouver Free Omar Khadr Campaign is encouraging a letter writing campaign to share our criticism of his appalling interference.
[+] Omar Khadr prison interview overruled by Vic Toews’ office (CBCnews)

Please forward or edit the template letter as you see fit. It would be very helpful if you sent copies to Stephen Harper and your M.P. Address/Contact information is provided below.

Thank you for your support!

Vancouver FREE Omar Khadr NOW Committee

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___________________________________

Date___________________

Vic Toews
Minister of Public Safety
Suite 306
Justice Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Canada
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Toews:

I am writing to protest the political interference of the office of the Minister of Public Safety in an application for a prison interview with Omar Khadr. Your decision to overrule the warden’s approval is considered to be highly unusual and outside the bounds of your authority. Only recently you reassured Canadians that decisions related to the future of Omar Khadr would be determined by Correctional Services Canada independent of government involvement. Political interference in the judicial process threatens the foundations of our democracy, Mr. Toews. I therefore urge you to:

1. allow the warden’s decision to take precedence and allow media access to Omar Khadr.

2. end the complicity of Canadian government officials in the ongoing violation of Omar Khadr’s human rights that are protected by international law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  

Sincerely,

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Name_______________
Addess______________

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________________________________

TAKE ACTION:

1. Phone Vic Toews:
1-613-992-3128, toll free: 1-800-944-4875

2. Send an email message:
vic.toews@parl.gc.ca

3. Send a letter: (no stamp needed). Hard copy letters have the greatest impact. Please write to:
Vic Toews
Minister of Public Safety
Suite 306, Justice Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ont.
K1A 0A6

4. Tweet Toews:
Vic Toews @ToewsVic

5. Send a copy to your M.P.
addresses listed here:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons.aspx?Menu=HoC

6. Send a copy to Stephen Harper:
pm@pm.gc.ca

7. Call Stephen Harper:
1-613-992-4211

8. Send a copy to Mulcair:
thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca

9. Send a copy to Trudeau:
justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

10. Send a copy to May:
elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

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Canadian Omar Khadr to appeal terrorism convictions

By Paul Koring,  The Globe and Mail  Apr. 27 2013

Omar Khadr’s plea-bargained guilty plea and conviction on murder, terrorism and spying charges will be appealed to a U.S. civilian federal court that has tossed out similar Guantanamo military tribunal convictions for two high-profile al-Qaeda defendants.

If the appeal succeeds, Mr. Khadr could be freed immediately.

His lawyers expect the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn Mr. Khadr’s conviction – just as it did in the cases of two of Osama bin Laden’s close personal aides, Ali Hamza Bahlul and Salim Hamdan, both also convicted at Guantanamo.

That would create consternation in Ottawa, where ministers have called Mr. Khadr a terrorist and successive Liberal and Conservative governments refused to extricate him from Guantanamo despite his Canadian citizenship and his hotly debated status as a child soldier under international law. He pleaded guilty in 2010 to multiple crimes committed in Afghanistan in 2002. As part of that plea, he confessed to throwing a grenade that killed U.S. Sergeant Christopher Speer.

The Pentagon’s Office of the Chief Defense Counsel has named an appellate team of attorneys for Mr. Khadr led by a civilian Sam Morison. Now armed with a formal go-ahead from Mr. Khadr, the team is expected to file the appeal soon.

They’re confident the military tribunal convictions will be overturned. “In our view there are serious questions about the validity of all these convictions,” Mr. Morison said, adding: “As the law now stands, I don’t see how his convictions can be affirmed.”

In rulings on Mr. Hamdan last October and again in January on Mr. al-Bahlul, the civilian appeals court overturned the terrorism convictions against the two. It concluded the military war crimes tribunal created by the George W. Bush administration after the 2001 terrorist attack that levelled New York’s twin towers and left the Pentagon ablaze had tried and convicted detainees on crimes that didn’t exist when the defendants were captured. President Barack Obama has opted to retain the military commissions and keep Guantanamo running, despite his pre-2008 election vow to close the infamous prison complex.

Mr. Khadr’s case is additionally complicated because, unlike Mr. Hamdan or Mr. al-Bahlul, he pleaded guilty at his week-long trial in October, 2010, that included a remorseful statement to Sgt. Speer’s widow. As part of that deal, Mr. Khadr waived his right to appeal.

Mr. Khadr admitted to murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism and spying.

But if the underlying acts weren’t crimes – at least not war crimes – then the waiver may also be unreliable and the appeal could still be accepted by the U.S. federal court.

“Not only weren’t they war crimes at the time of their commission but, I would argue,” Mr. Morison said, “that none of them are crimes today, not in international law.”

The exception is spying, which was so broadly redefined in the Military Commissions Act, it bears little resemblance to espionage as defined in international law.

It could be months before the appeal is formally launched, let alone heard.

In the meantime, Mr. Khadr, who has been held prisoner since 2002, will be eligible under Canadian law for a parole hearing in July this year, when he will have served one-third of the eight-year sentence he agreed to at his 2010 trial.

Mr. Khadr, near death, was dug out of the rubble of an Afghan compound bombed by U.S. warplanes in June, 2002, where the then-15-year-old son of a major al-Qaeda figure was living with a group of militants building and planting roadside bombs.

Even if Mr. Khadr threw the grenade that killed Sgt. Speer, killing a combatant on a battlefield isn’t a war crime except in narrowly defined cases. Those include shooting a defenseless descending parachutist, a wounded soldier or one indicating surrender.

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Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadian-omar-khadr-to-appeal-terrorism-convictions/article11587422/?cmpid=rss1

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MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY

Omar Khadr or: How Canada Rejects the Very Principles of the Rule of Law and the Further Erosion of Our Values.

Omar Khadr’s lawyer Dennis Edney’s Talk | Vancouver April 16, 2013