Dennis Edney

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Dennis Edney
Dennis Edney.png
Edney in 2007
Born Dundee, Scotland, UK
Residence Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Defence lawyer
Home town Dundee, Scotland

Dennis Edney is a Canadian defence lawyer based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Originally from Dundee, Scotland, he is noted for his involvement in high-profile cases, including Brian Mills, R. v. Trang, as defence attorney for Abdullah and Omar Khadr, who were captured in the War on Terror, for Fahim Ahmad, and for representing the entire Khadr family.[1][2][3][4][5]

Edney was born in Dundee, Scotland, and worked as a building contractor, when he first immigrated to Canada.[6]

Edney received his law degree in 1987 from the University of Northumbria[7] and has since appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada and the United States Supreme Court. He was appointed as Foreign Attorney Consultant by the U.S. Pentagon to participate in the legal defence of Omar Khadr, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.


Edney has lectured extensively, with emphasis on the Rule of Law, to organizations, universities and conferences throughout North America. He served as keynote speaker on behalf of Amnesty International at Trinity College, Dublin, on the Rule of Law (2005); and in London, England, at the international conference on the "Global Struggle against Torture" (2005).

On 25 September 2007 Edney appeared on the CBC Radio program As It Happens, where he claimed politics were responsible for the Crown's sudden reversal of process, abandoning the preliminary inquiry, for the Toronto terrorism trial.[8] He was one of the defence attorneys supporting the publication ban on information about the trial, while others decried it.[9]

In 2008 he received the Canadian National Pro Bono Award: "The significance of his commitment is based not only on the tremendous energy, time and personal resources spent advocating on Mr. Khadr’s behalf, but also based on the complexity of the litigation, which was argued before Canadian and U.S. courts and military tribunals. His commitment in the face of potential personal repercussions of representing an unpopular case is a testament to the finest traditions of the legal profession. The fruits of [his] labour have not only increased access to justice for one individual but impacted human rights the world over."

Dennis Edney in 2008

Edney was named by Alberta Venture magazine as one of 50 Alberta's most influential people for 2008. He received the 2009 Human Rights Medal awarded by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia for work that "has helped to promote and further human rights".

In 2011, he was appointed as a Bencher of the Law Society of Alberta.[7] He also received the honorary title of Queens Counsel for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession.

On 10 December 2013, the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he was recognized by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights in Edmonton.[10]

In addition to his caseload, he is noted for speaking publicly at conferences and engagements on legal matters, including the rule of law as it relates to the war on terror.[11][12]

On 19 September 2014, when the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in Winnipeg, was first opened, Edney participated in a human rights panel about Omar Khadr's case at the nearby Manitoba Children’s Theatre.[13] Edney was also presented with an award for his work from the Winnipeg Peace Alliance.

Dennis Edney and Patricia Edney star in the 2015 Canadian documentary Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr, which looks at Edney's advocacy for Omar Khadr and features interviews in Edney's home, where Khadr resided as a guest after being released on bail in 2015.[14][15]


  1. ^ Alexandra Zabjek (2008-01-20). "Local lawyer in Khadr case unflinching in fight against U.S." Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2013-12-16. For four years Edney and fellow Edmonton lawyer Nathan Whitling have represented Omar Khadr, the Ontario-born youth accused of killing an American sergeant during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan. 
  2. ^ Michelle Shephard (2008). Guantanamo's Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470841174. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  3. ^ Bob Weber (2001-02-10). "Man who fought rape shield law cleared of assault". National Post. Archived from the original on 2001-07-26. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  4. ^ Michael Friscolanti (2007-09-10). "The Informant: Mubin Sheikh". Macleans magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  5. ^ "CSIS interrogated Khadr: lawyers". CBC News. 2005-02-09. Archived from the original on 2006-10-16. 
  6. ^ Ciaran Shanks (2017-03-03). "Dundee lawyer Dennis Edney takes on Canadian government over Omar Khadr cas". The Evening Telegraph (Dundee). Retrieved 2017-03-06. He fought for a better life in North America after leaving his Dundee home, battled to become a lawyer, aged 40, and waged war on the US Government over their "despicable" treatment of Guantanamo Bay’s youngest inmate. 
  7. ^ a b "Welcome to New Benchers". The Advisory, Vol. 9, Issue 1 (Law Society of Alberta). 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  8. ^ "Politics stopped preliminary hearing, says lawyer". CBC News. 2007-09-26. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2006-09-02. .
  10. ^ Sheila Pratt (2013-12-10). "Khadr lawyer receives human rights award". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-16. Edmonton lawyer Dennis Edney, who has fought a decade-long battle for legal rights for Omar Khadr, received a prestigious human rights award Tuesday evening from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  13. ^ Sheila Pratt (2014-09-19). "Human rights laws failed to protect Omar Khadr, his Edmonton lawyer says". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-09-20. Dennis Edney, Khadr’s Edmonton lawyer, says the many modern domestic and international conventions to uphold human rights were ineffective in protecting Khadr’s right to a fair trial, protecting him from torture or upholding his status as a juvenile. 
  14. ^ John DeFore (11 September 2015). "'Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr': TIFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 January 2016. His warm positivity in these interviews (conducted early this year, after Canada's supreme court ordered his release) certainly has much to do with relentless advocacy by Dennis Edney, a colorful Scottish-Canadian lawyer who worked toward his release for a dozen years (the first four of which he wasn't even allowed to meet his client) and has become a father figure. Scenes of these two together leave little doubt that, whatever terrible things he did as a child soldier, Khadr wants nothing more as an adult than to live a just and peaceful life. 
  15. ^ Stephen Hunt (26 September 2015). "CIFF: Guantanamo's Child features first interview with Omar Khadr". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 

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