Un­su­per­vised vis­its with sis­ter de­nied

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - PAIGE PAR­SONS ppar­sons@postmedia.com Twit­ter.com/paigeepar­sons

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.

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