Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Edmonton judge denies Omar Khadr eased bail conditions

Judge says nothing has really changed since last time Khadr asked for changes to conditions

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.

READ MORE: Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions, lawyer says

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.

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19: Northern Health assuring public it has declared no public exposure events or outbreaks

As of Sept. 17, there are 241 cases in the Northern Health Authority region

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read