The Harper Government has lost its bid to keep Omar Khadr in prison.
This morning Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby ruled the 28-year-old should be released on bail, saying the Federal Government had not proven that allowing him out would pose a risk to the public or hurt Canada’s international treaty obligations. A psychological assessment conducted in April found that Khadr posed a low to moderate risk for committing future violent crimes.
Khadr has been in custody for the past 13 years.
He was captured by American troops when he was 15, after allegedly tossing a grenade, which killed a US soldier during fighting in Afghanistan.
In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to 5 war crimes before a military court, including the murder of an American special forces soldier during a battle in Afghanistan when he was 15.
He was being held at Guantanamo Bay until being transferred to Canada last year and has appealed those convictions, arguing he only did so to get out of the Guantanamo.
He wanted out on bail while that appeal was making its way through the American justice system.
Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney, had some choice words for Prime Minister Harper and the federal government.
“I was asked in Guantanamo a number of times, ‘Why is Canada not doing something for this young man?’ You’d have to ask Mr. Harper. My view is very clear. Mr. Harper is a bigot, Mr. Harper doesn’t like Muslims. It’s also political. He wants to show he’s tough on crime and who does he pick on? A 15 year old boy who was picked up and put in a hell hole of Guantanamo.”
Khadr will have to abide by a laundry list of conditions as part of his bail, including:
- Continuing with counselling;
- Living with Edney and his wife;
- Remaining in the house between 10pm and 7am;
- Speaking only English when speaking with his family;
- Banned from communicating with any members of any terrorist group;
- No internet access.