EDMONTON — Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr wants to be granted a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and permission to speak to his controversial sister.
Khadr, who is now 32, will be back in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton Thursday to apply for changes to his bail conditions which were imposed while he appeals war crime convictions by a U.S. military commission.
An affidavit by Khadr filed with the court says the impact of his bail conditions are mainly psychological — a daily reminder of what he went through.
“I feel like the indefinite and potentially endless detention that I suffered in Guantanamo Bay is continuing,” he wrote. “I hope that there will be some end to this process, but there is none in sight.”
Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15 and accused of tossing a grenade that killed special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2002.
He says in his affidavit that he would like to be able to speak on the phone or over Skype to his sister Zaynab Khadr. He is also asking to perform the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia which is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims once in their lifetime.
“For this reason, I would like to apply for a Canadian passport,” he said in the document.
Zaynab Khadr has spoken in favour of al-Qaida and was investigated in Canada more than a decade ago for helping the terrorist network, but she was never charged.
“My sister Zaynab is not presently in Canada,” Khadr said in the document. “She is living with her husband and family. As far as I am aware, she is not in any sort of trouble.”
The rules of Khadr’s bail allow him to meet with her but only in the presence of his bail supervisor or one of his lawyers.
Khadr also needs permission to travel outside Alberta, and has made several trips to Toronto both to visit his family and deal with a civil lawsuit there to enforce a judgment granted against him in Utah.
In his affidavit, Khadr said he has been volunteering with an organization that helps refugees integrate into the community and has earned his high school diploma. Khadr said he is happily married and was accepted into a nursing program, but has been unable to devote himself to study due to his legal issues.
“My reintegration into the community has been filled with happiness and not bitterness,” he wrote. “I have no anger towards anyone and I have been getting on with my life. I have made many friends, and I am proud and happy to be a Canadian citizen living in Canada.
“I have not gotten into any trouble of any kind with the authorities.”
His case has ignited sharp and divisive debate among Canadians over terrorism, human rights and the rule of law since last summer when it was revealed the federal government had settled a lawsuit filed by him for a reported $10.5 million.
The payout followed a ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court in 2010 that Khadr’s charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and that Canadian officials contributed to that violation.