(May 7, 2015) – Dennis Edney, Omar Khadr’s lawyer, criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper this afternoon after Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby turned down the federal government’s effort to keep the 28-year-old detained.
“Mr. Harper is a bigot. Mr. Harper doesn’t like Muslims,” Edney said following the decision.
“When you put your children to bed, ask yourself if you’d want your children to be abused the way Omar Khadr was,” he said. “He wants to prove he’s tough on crime, so who does he pick on? A 15-year-old boy.”
Omar Khadr has spent the past 13 years in prison and is now free on bail while he appeals his convictions in the United States for war crimes.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice June Ross had granted Khadr bail last month, but the Canadian government appealed the decision.
Justice Myra Bielby said there was no clear evidence that releasing Khadr would cause irreparable harm as the federal government has argued.
“Our judicial system is something to be incredibly proud of. At some point, I will have Omar Khadr say something. Not today, perhaps tomorrow,” said Dennis Edney.
“Of course, I am incredibly delighted. It has taken too many years to get to this point. It’s such an irony that I started this journey from the U.S. Supreme Court to Guantanamo and it takes an Alberta judge to release Omar Khadr. “
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, reacting to the decision, said that his government is not happy with the decision.
“We are disappointed by the decisions of the court, because we feel that victims should be considered in those decisions,” Minister Blaney said from the Dorval airport in Quebec.
Omar Khadr will live with his lawyer, Dennis Edney, under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“I look forward to Omar Khadr letting the public see who he is, to challenge the lies of this government who have not allowed him to be seen to or speak to the media. We were the only western government not to request one of its detainees to return home. We left a child, a Canadian child, to suffer torture; we participated in this torture,” said Dennis Edney.
“He was taken away right away. I imagine he’s sitting down trying to believe this. Is this really true and will he be really believe it and until he gets picked by me? My wife has been cleaning the house for weeks, it seems.”
Other bail conditions imposed on Omar Khadr are that contact with his family can only be made by telephone or video conference, and the conversations will have to be in English and be supervised.
Visits with his family can only take place with prior written approval from a supervisor and he is prohibited from any communication with members of a terrorist group.
Khadr would not be able to apply for a passport, and his internet access will be limited and monitored.
“The war on terror is part of history. Omar Khadr is the only child in Guantanamo who is part of that history. Justice doesn’t come quick at times but it does come if you don’t give up,” said Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney.