File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr is seen in Mississauga, Ont.

Edmonton judge denies Omar Khadr eased bail conditions

EDMONTON — An Edmonton judge has denied former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr’s request for relaxed bail conditions and a Canadian passport.

Justice June Ross says there’s no evidence of hardship or that the conditions are needlessly onerous.

She says nothing has really changed since the last time Khadr asked for changes to his bail conditions and the restrictions he faces are reasonable.

Ross says her decision is not etched in stone and conditions could change in the future.

Khadr’s lawyer had argued that it wasn’t fair that his client’s life remains restricted by a stalled U.S. court process with no end in sight.

Khadr, 32, has been on bail since May 2015 pending his appeal of his conviction by a U.S. military commission on alleged war crimes. The appeal has stalled and Khadr has no idea of how long his bail conditions will last.

Khadr wanted to be able to travel to Toronto without the approval of his bail supervisor to visit his family more easily and to make court appearances related to a civil lawsuit filed by the family of an American soldier killed in the Afghanistan firefight in which Khadr was captured

He also wanted unsupervised conversations with his sister, who lives in the country of Georgia, and a Canadian passport so that he could make a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic religious pilgrimage, or hajj, is considered obligatory for practising Muslims.

Currently, he must contact his bail supervisor if he wants to leave Alberta. He can only talk under supervision to his sister Zaynab, who has spoken in favour of al-Qaida and was investigated in Canada more than a decade ago for helping the terrorist network.

“In Canada, appeals move quickly,” Whitling had argued. ”This is pending a foreign appeal, which has never happened before and this foreign appeal is extraordinarily slow.”

He said his client has lived quietly for years, is happily married, follows bail conditions to the letter and poses no threat. Khadr’s affidavit says he has been to Toronto eight times without issue since the conditions were imposed.

It’s the latest of several attempts for relaxed bail conditions. In 2017, a judge denied most of his requests.

Khadr was sent to the notorious U.S. military holding facility at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 after he was captured and accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in 2002.

He was 15 at the time and says he can’t remember killing the soldier. He says he only confessed to the crime to get out of Guantanamo and into the Canadian justice system.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that Khadr’s rights were violated while he was in captivity in the U.S. and that the Canadian government had contributed to that. Khadr settled a lawsuit against Ottawa in 2017 with a $10.5-million payout.

Omar Khadr

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Government announces 79 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 2 in Red Deer

There are 79 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, bringing the provincial… Continue reading

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital bracing for COVID-19 impact

“We’re all worried about what’s coming, but I think we feel confident”

WATCH: COVID-19 doesn’t stop Red Deer Public Library from telling stories

Deb Isbister has been reading stories to children for more than 20… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

I am still facing that existential angst

Stir crazy. I looked the phrase up, just for fun. “Restless or… Continue reading

Red Deer College adapting and adjusting to COVID-19

I have worked in post-secondary education for more than 30 years, and… Continue reading

Families urge action to get Canadians home from cruise ship stuck off Panama

1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board and more tests are being done every day

Saskatchewan cabinet Minister deletes ‘pray and repent’ tweet over COVID-19

REGINA — A Saskatchewan cabinet minister who tweeted an Old Testament passage… Continue reading

Ontario allows youth to remain in care after passing cut-off age during pandemic

TORONTO — Youth in Ontario’s child welfare system who pass the cut-off… Continue reading

Canada could face legal trouble over refugee deportations: advocates

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland holding ‘urgent’ discussions with U.S. officials

Most Read