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

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

Looking back on the West Coast’s top 10 news stories

Tofino and Ucluelet’s top headlines of 2019.

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Most Read