The Free Omar Khadr Now legal fund campaign
At long last we are celebrating Omar’s release on bail, after 13 years of unlawful imprisonment! However, there are still legal battles ahead. The Free Omar Khadr Now campaign will continue its fight until Omar is completely free to come and go where he wants, and until he is acquitted of all the baseless charges applied by the illegitimate Guantánamo commission. The violation of Omar’s rights must be properly remedied.
We will continue to support Omar’s pro bono lawyers with their mounting costs.
Upcoming court challenges are:
September 2015 – Federal government’s appeal of Judge Ross’ decision to grant bail to Omar;
Appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review in the U.S. to vacate all Omar’s Guantanamo Bay ‘convictions’;
Civil lawsuit against the Canadian government for complicity in his arbitrary detention and cruel and inhumane treatment at the hands of the United States.
We continue to need your help and ask you to support the Free Omar Khadr 2015 Fundraising campaign which has a goal of $80,000. This money goes directly to Omar’s defence with no administration fees.
Your contribution makes his defence possible and brings Omar’s case closer to justice.
TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FREE OMAR KHADR NOW 2015 FUND, you have the following options:
1) By Paypal: http://freeomar.ca/donate/
2) By Cheque, you can send to:
Free Omar Khadr Now Committee
P.O. Box 57112 RPO
East Hastings Street
V5K 1Z0 Canada. (Please enclose your email address)
3) By Bank Deposit/Interac e-transfer:
Free Omar Khadr Now Committee
VanCity Credit Union, Branch 13
Account number: 531590
Omar Khadr has been denied the rights and protections provided by our laws, Charter of Rights and Constitution. No government has the right to arbitrarily choose which citizens are entitled to those rights and protections. Our laws apply equally to ALL Canadians. The Canadian government undermines our democracy, the rule of law and the rights of citizens when it practices exclusion.
- is the only person found “guilty” in the death of one of 7,000+ U.S. casualties in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars;
- is the only child convicted of a war crime -- by an illegitimate Guantanamo Military Commission unqualified to determine guilt or innocence;
- was forced to take a plea deal as the only option to end his torture and return to Canada;
- is innocent of all charges as they were not legitimate “crimes” under Canadian, U.S. or international law. All evidence supports his innocence;
- is the only former Guantanamo prisoner from the West to remain a prisoner in his home country, Canada.
THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA KNEW:
- the charges against Omar Khadr were bogus and could never be upheld by a properly constituted court;
- confessions were extracted from Omar Khadr through the use of torture and other prohibited treatment including threats, beatings, psychological torment, incommunicado and arbitrary detention, prolonged solitary confinement, denial of habeas corpus, denial of the right to legal representation, denial of timely and confidential legal representation, denial of access to a properly constituted, impartial and independent tribunal and denial of fair trial rights;
- Omar Khadr was and is properly presumed to be a ‘prisoner of war’ and is entitled to the protection of international and Canadian law including the Geneva Conventions;
- Omar Khadr was illegally captured, transported to and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay in violation of all applicable international law and Canadian law;
- Omar Khadr was a 15 year old child at the time of capture and as such was entitled to special protections ensuring all his rights, including his right to liberty.
Omar’s continuing imprisonment in his home country ignores that his plea deal was extracted with evidence obtained under torture and the Guantanamo sentence was imposed in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute and the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
In 2008 Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that Ottawa was complicit in the abuse of Omar Khadr’s Charter Rights when it participated in his torture in Guantanamo. His mental abuse by Canadian interrogators (CSIS) in Guantanamo is recorded in the documentary ‘You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days inside Guantanamo’.
In 2014 the Chief Justice of Alberta said in her ruling that : “the evidence against Khadr would have been excluded in a Canadian court. The legal process under which Khadr was held and the evidence elicited from him have been found to have violated both the Charter and international human rights law.”
Mr. Sapers, the Ombudsman for Federal Prisons, has blasted the Conservative government's unfair classification of Omar as a maximum security prisoner, stating “The OCI has not found any evidence that Mr. Khadr’s behaviour while incarcerated has been problematic and that he could not be safely managed at a lower security level ... I recommend that Mr. Khadr’s security classification be reassessed taking into account all available information and the actual level of risk posed by the offender, bearing in mind his sole offence was committed when he was a minor.” [This resulted in Omar being classified as a medium-security prisoner.]
The media was not allowed to interview Omar Khadr. Both the rights of the Canadian public to know his story and Omar's right to tell his story have been denied. A court case is underway to correct this violation.
Despite the unspeakable abuse and hardship Omar has suffered, he has retained his dignity and is a positive and cheerful 28 year old who wishes to live a normal, productive life. He is working on his Grade 12 credits with the help of volunteer tutors.
In a letter to one of his many friends Omar wrote: “The light of goodness outshines shadows that might be. There are too many good things in this life (as hard as it might be) to worry or even care about the bad things. Things are what we make out of them. Prison can be a deprivation of freedom, or a time to enlighten ourselves. For me it is the latter.” (Dec. 2012)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is among those who advocate on Omar’s behalf that his capture and imprisonment are illegal. He spoke by telephone with Omar in July 2014. He said "It is unconscionable that Omar Khadr, following a travesty of a trial where he was treated as an adult in a vicious kangaroo court, should be languishing in jail" and that "his own country Canada should be an accomplice in holding him in prison. This is an example of a horrible miscarriage of justice and that in a modern democratic state. The Canadian authorities would do their stature much good if they released him immediately."
During the 13 years of Omar's imprisonment there has been political interference at the highest levels, a serious miscarriage of justice has continued and the life of a young Canadian has been terribly abused. The government continues to malign this young man’s character for political gain.
I support Omar’s right to live as a free man. He must be compensated for wrongful conviction and torture. The government must acknowledge its wrongdoing and make a public apology.