Canadian Government to Intervene in Release of Child Guantanamo Victim

Ottawa, Canada (TFC) – On Tuesday morning, the Canadian Federal government is expected to undermine the release on bail of ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr at the Alberta Court of Appeal, who has been charged with killing an American soldier in battle.

Khadr was granted bail on April 24th by Alberta Court of Queen’s Justice June Ross, and is planned to meet with the courts to decide the conditions of his release just hours after the government’s appearance. The intention of the Canadian government is to stall the case and keep Khadr in prison.

In July of 2002 Omar Khadr, fifteen, was living in Afghanistan with his radicalized father. According to Khadr, American soldiers bombarded his residence for a period of four hours. At the start of this, Al-Qaeda members forced a gun into his hands and rushed him toward American soldiers. At the start of the gunfight, an explosion rendered him unconscious, severely damaging his legs, in addition to that shrapnel left him with lasting damage to one eye. One American soldier reflected in his journal on what followed, stating that there were only two terrorists alive after the encounter. “I remember looking over my right shoulder and seeing [redacted] just waste the guy who was still alive. He was shooting him with controlled pairs,” the soldier wrote in his journal. At this time, Khadr was still lying unconscious, unarmed and half-blind. Despite Omar’s state, the soldier shot him twice in the back, leaving holes through to his side and shoulder. The officer wrote that “[He was] missing a piece of his chest and I could see his heart beating.”

Omar Khadr Image is Public Domain

Omar Khadr
Image is Public Domain

Khadr was treated by American medics and was brought to Guantanamo Bay in 2002, shortly after turning sixteen. Once there he faced an extensive list of torture techniques. According to his affidavit, Khadr was threatened with rape, waterboarded, shown pictures of his dead father’s bloody corpse as guards laughed at him for crying, and denied safety from other inmates sexually abusing him. In 2003, he was visited by Canadian officials who would interrogate him further, yell at him and said that, “The U.S. and Canada are like an elephant and an ant sleeping in the same bed,” and even if they wanted to help him they could not. Despite his mistreatment by the American prison, turned on by his own country, and being surrounded by war criminals, Omar rejected radicalism.

“Well, I relate to the Prophet, right? And there’s nobody that—in the Islamic history—there is nobody who had a better relationship with the Jews and Christians than the Prophet or with, you know, un-Muslim people . . . We are supposed to be like him, but people are not like him”- Omar Khadr, 2010

On September 26, 2012, Khadr was released from Guantanamo Bay and sent to a Canadian maximum security facility, meeting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assurance and piling onto his administration’s controversy. Since then, Omar has been declared to not be a threat to public safety and has been moved to medium security at Bowden Correctional Institution.

On his release, Omar Khadr plans to distance himself from his family, only communicating over Skype. He will be staying with his lawyer Dennis Edney. Whether the Edmonton court will recognize the Canadian government’s plea to keep Omar behind bars remains to be seen.