Unsupervised visits with sister denied
An Edmonton judge rejected Omar Khadr’s request to have his bail conditions eased so that he can have unsupervised visits with his controversial sister.
During a Friday morning hearing, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice June Ross denied Khadr’s application that he be allowed to communicate freely with his sister, Zaynab Khadr. During the hearing, several other bail conditions were eased or altered.
Several years ago, Zaynab Khadr and her mother sparked public outrage when they expressed support for the al-Qaida terrorist group.
Zaynab Khadr was investigated by RCMP in 2005 for allegedly aiding al-Qaida, but no charges were filed.
Restrictions that prevented Khadr from freely communicating with other members of his family, including his mother, have already been eased.
“Mr. Khadr has demonstrated he’s not a threat,” Khadr’s lawyer, Nate Whitling, argued, adding that there has never been evidence entered with the court about Zaynab Khadr’s “views,” but that even if there had been, his client has proven his mind won’t be “corrupted.”
Court heard Zaynab Khadr is planning a visit to Canada with her children, and her brother would like to be able to interact with his nieces and nephews at family gatherings in Ontario.
Federal government lawyer Bruce Hughson opposed removing the current restriction on communications with Khadr’s sister — that conversations can only be in English and that they must be supervised by Khadr’s lawyers or his bail supervisor.
Ross agreed, but did allow for additional, approved supervisors to be appointed to attend if the brother and sister do meet.
Khadr was successful in getting changes to some of his other conditions. He’s now allowed to use any electronic devices that connect to the internet, but a new condition was added that prohibits him from accessing terrorist material online.
His requests that he only have to meet his bail supervisor every three months instead of two, and that he be able to travel in Canada without prior authorization, were rejected.
After the hearing, Whitling said Khadr was “disappointed” with the court’s decision about his sister.
Khadr has been out on bail for about 2 1/2 years, during which time he has married, earned his certification as an emergency medical responder, and moved into his own apartment.
The Toronto-born 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 U.S. special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2002.
In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to multiple charges before a U.S. military commission, including to killing Speer, but later said he can’t remember if he tossed the grenade. He has said he entered the plea to try to get out of Guantanamo, where he said he was mistreated, and into the Canadian justice system.
He returned to Canada in 2012 to serve out the rest of his eightyear sentence. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Khadr’s Charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and Canadian officials contributed to that violation.
Whitling said Friday that the appeal in the U.S. military court has stalled.
“That court is essentially refusing to allow Mr. Khadr to move ahead with his appeal, which is preposterous,” Whitling said.
Khadr filed a $20-million lawsuit against the government and last month it was revealed he had settled the case for a reported $10.5 million. That set off a fierce debate.
Khadr has said he wants to get on with his life. He has been accepted into a nursing program at Red Deer College.