Khadr’s ap­peal for un­su­per­vised vis­its with sis­ter de­nied

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - NEWS -

For­mer Guan­tanamo Bay de­tainee Omar Khadr has been de­nied un­su­per­vised vis­its with his con­tro­ver­sial older sis­ter who has ex­pressed sup­port for al-Qaeda.

Jus­tice June Ross ruled on Friday that Mr. Khadr and his lawyer, Nathan Whitling, have of­fered noth­ing new to al­lay se­cu­rity con­cerns sur­round­ing Zaynab Khadr, who is cur­rently be­lieved to be in Su­dan.

Zaynab Khadr, 37, has spo­ken in favour of al-Qaeda and was in­ves­ti­gated in Canada more than a decade ago for help­ing the ter­ror­ist net­work, but she was never charged.

She is re­port­edly plan­ning a trip to Canada, and the rules of Mr. Khadr’s bail al­low him to meet with her but only in the pres­ence of his bail su­per­vi­sor or one of his lawyers.

Mr. Whitling ar­gued in Court of Queen’s Bench that the re­stric­tion is no longer nec­es­sary. He said Mr. Khadr, 30, is old enough and ma­ture enough not to be swayed by any­one else.

He noted that Zaynab Khadr “may have made some un­for­tu­nate me­dia state­ments” but there is no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing.

Bruce Hugh­son, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the fed­eral govern­ment, told Jus­tice Ross that Mr. Khadr has pro­vided no new ev­i­dence on Zaynab Khadr’s ter­ror­ism views that would jus­tify chang­ing the bail rules.

Jus­tice Ross agreed. She said the re­stric­tion was put in place for a rea­son and Mr. Whitling needs to show ev­i­dence – be­sides the pas­sage of time – to jus­tify amend­ing the or­der.

Mr. Khadr is on bail while he ap­peals war crime con­vic­tions by a U.S. mil­i­tary com­mis­sion. He de­clined to make any com­ment out­side court.

Toronto-born Mr. 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 spe­cial forces sol­dier Christo­pher Speer at a mil­i­tant com­pound in Afghanistan in 2002.

He is now mar­ried and is mov­ing to Red Deer, south of Edmonton, to be­gin earn­ing a nurs­ing de­gree.

While await­ing his ap­peal hear­ing, Mr. Khadr has sought a loos­en­ing of a num­ber of bail re­stric­tions.

Jus­tice Ross did al­low a change to Mr. Khadr’s In­ter­net use. He had been re­stricted to per­sonal In­ter­net de­vices and sub­ject to checks.

Mr. Whitling ar­gued that the In­ter­net is avail­able ev­ery­where on mul­ti­ple de­vices – at friends’ homes and in pub­lic places – and that there is no way for Mr. Khadr to avoid it.

Jus­tice Ross agreed to ex­pand Mr. Khadr’s In­ter­net use as long as he doesn’t use the Web to seek out ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda or or­ga­ni­za­tions.


Zaynab Khadr, sis­ter of Omar Khadr, leaves court dur­ing a break in hear­ings in Ottawa in June, 2009.

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