Canada tries to prevent former Gitmo inmate's release

Omar Khadr has been granted bail after years in Guantanamo prison, but Canadian government appeals judge's ruling

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The youngest Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Omar Khadr, granted bail in Canada last month, but the conservative Stephen Harper's government tries to hold him in jail.

The government has applied for an emergency stay to prevent the release of Khadr.

Ottawa argues that granting bail to Khadr "would threaten the entire system of the international prisoner transfers" and "presents a risk to the public interest," without providing any evidence.

The government has not disputed Khadr’s lawyers’ evidence that he has been a model prisoner. Correctional Services Canada and even the Guantanamo Bay psychologist classified him as a minimum-security prisoner.

In the bail decision, justice June Ross said that detention is not necessary for the public interest. He will be able to apply for a parole in June.

Toronto born Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 after he had a firefight with US soldiers and was detained in Guantanamo at the age of 15, making him the youngest inmate there.

He was transferred to Canada after pleading guilty to killing a US soldier by throwing grenades and sentenced to eight years by the military commission in Guantanamo Bay.

Khadr was tortured by waterboarding or simulated drowning, as well as three weeks of intense sleep deprivation in Guantanamo Bay. Khadr also reported several abuses, including stress positions and being hung by his arms for extended periods of time, his lawyer said.

Khadr said that he only pleaded guilty to get out of Guantanamo Bay and be able to back in Canada, where the judges will treat him more fairly.

Now the 28-year-old is serving another eight-year sentence in a Canadian jail following a transfer agreement with the US in 2012.

If he is released, he will be staying with his lawyer David Edney.

“The Harper government is not interested in the rule of law,” Edney, who has been defending Khadr with Nathan Whitling last ten years, told Canadian the Press. “It refuses to listen to what the courts have said about Omar Khadr’s rights. It continues to spend millions of taxpayers dollars only to lose time and time again.”

Edney has also described the move as "another desperate move from the Harper government to prevent the public from hearing or seeing his client."

In 2010, the Canadian Supreme Court had ruled that Khadr's rights were breached by the Canadian government, which sent intelligence agents to interrogate him in Guantanamo in 2003 and 2004 and shared the information with the United States.

Ottawa had three legal fights against the former Guantanamo Bay child prisoner. The government has lost every case so far.

His lawyer said, after ten years of fighting for Khadr, he is now optimistic that Khadr will be having dinner with his family on Tuesday night.

TRTWorld and agencies