The US Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR) made an important decision that acknowledged its illegitimacy in convicting on charges of providing material support for terrorism. The CMCR decision follows on the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court (Al Bahlul v. United States), which held that material support for terrorism is not an offense that the military commission could try.
David Hicks, a former Guantanamo prisoner was convicted by the military commission of this offense but now that conviction has been quashed. He is innocent. His lawyer Stephen Kenny said that the decision confirms that Mr Hicks’ actions were not illegal. “He wasn’t doing anything that was a breach of Australian, international or US law. US civilian courts have ruled that the charge of providing material support for terrorism cannot be considered a war crime in cases that were brought for actions before 2006, when new laws were adopted.”
US civilian courts have ruled that the charge of providing material support for terrorism cannot be considered a war crime in cases that were brought for actions before 2006, when new laws were adopted.”
Omar Khadr was also ‘convicted’ of providing material support, and like David HIcks was told that he had no appeal rights as part of the plea deal. Now it’s clear that appeal rights have not been extinguished, rather they continue to exist.
Nate Whitling, Omar’s lawyer suggested that the ruling could help Omar’s U.S. appeal and stated that “(The) decision in the David Hicks case is important to Omar Khadr’s appeal before the same court. Essentially, it confirms that the form of waiver signed by Omar as part of his plea deal is invalid, and that he may appeal all five of his ‘convictions’.”
Sam Morison, Pentagon appointed lawyer is currently appealing all of Omar’s ‘convictions‘. This challenge has been delayed by other appeals in the system, nevertheless we are hopeful that Omar’s innocence will also be established.
In light of this US appeal and other decisions which have successfully negated the legitimacy of the military commission, Omar’s lawyers have requested bail. The bail hearing is set for March 24-25 in Edmonton. Let’s hope that justice and fairness will prevail for Omar.
Here is a listing of media articles as well as the Hicks decision:
A MESSAGE FROM DENNIS EDNEY Q.C., Lawyer for Omar Khadr | February 2015Omar 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.
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