Omar Khadr

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Omar Khadr
Omar Khadr - PD-Family-released.jpg
Khadr at the age of 14
Born Omar Ahmed Khadr
(1986-09-19) September 19, 1986 (age 30)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Detained at

Bagram Air Base, age 15–16. Guantanamo Bay, age 16–26. Millhaven Institution (September 28, 2012 – May 28, 2013) Edmonton Institution (May 28, 2013 – February 2014)

Bowden Institution (February 2014 – May 2015)
Charge(s) Five charges of war crimes, terrorism including killing an American soldier and providing material support for terrorism
Penalty Eight additional years confinement (parole eligibility in mid-2013)
Status Pleaded guilty after 10 years detention without trial; out on bail with conditions
Parents Ahmed Khadr
Maha el-Samnah

Omar Ahmed Sayid Khadr (born September 19, 1986) is a Canadian who was detained at Guantanamo Bay as a minor and held there for 10 years. In a firefight during the United States invasion of Afghanistan on July 27, 2002, in the village of Ayub Kheyl, in which several Taliban fighters were killed, Khadr, not yet 16, was severely wounded.[1] After being detained at Bagram, he was sent to Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. During his detention, he was interrogated by Canadian as well as US intelligence officers. He was imprisoned for throwing a grenade during the firefight that resulted in the death of an American soldier. At the time, he was 15 years old and had been brought to Afghanistan by his father, who was affiliated with an extreme religious group.

He pleaded guilty to murder and several war crimes in October 2010 at a hearing by a United States military commission.[2][3][4][5][6] He was the youngest prisoner and last Western citizen to be held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay. He accepted an eight-year sentence, not including time served, with the possibility of a transfer to Canada after at least one year to serve the remainder of the sentence.[7] Khadr was the first person since World War II to be prosecuted in a military commission for war crimes committed while still a minor. His conviction and sentence were widely denounced by civil rights groups and various newspaper editorials.[8] His prosecution and imprisonment was condemned by the United Nations, which has taken up the issue of child soldiers.

On September 29, 2012, Khadr was repatriated to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canadian custody.[9] He was initially assigned to a maximum-security prison but moved to a medium-security prison in 2014. Khadr was released on bail in May 2015 (pending an appeal of his U.S. conviction) after the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to block his release as had been requested by the Canadian government.

In 2013, Khadr filed a C$20,000,000 amended civil suit against the government of Canada for conspiring with the U.S. in abusing his rights. He said he had signed the plea agreement because he believed it was the only way he could gain transfer from Guantanamo, and claimed that he had no memory of the firefight in which he was wounded.[10][11] Khadr's lawyers successfully challenged his incarceration in Canada as an adult offender. On May 14, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the federal government's position, ruling that Khadr had clearly been sentenced by the U.S. military tribunal as a minor. If he loses his appeal of the US conviction, underway in a separate action, he would serve any remaining time in a provincial facility rather than in a federal penitentiary.[12]

Early life[edit]

Khadr was known as his mother's "favourite" child among the siblings[13][14]
An early photo of Khadr's mother and siblings

Khadr was born in Toronto on September 19, 1986, to Ahmed Khadr and Maha el-Samnah, Egyptian and Palestinian immigrants who became naturalized Canadian citizens.[15] Their family had moved to Peshawar, Pakistan in 1985, where his father worked for charities helping Afghan refugees.[13][16] Omar spent his childhood moving back and forth between Canada and Pakistan. He had six siblings and his mother wanted to raise their family outside of Canada, as she disliked some of its Western social influences.[17]

In 1992, Khadr's father was severely injured while in Logar, Afghanistan; the family moved with him for a time back to Toronto so he could recuperate. After the move, Omar became "hypersensitive to tension in the family" and would often quote Captain Haddock from The Adventures of Tintin.[16] Enrolled at ISNA Elementary School for Grade 1, Omar's teachers described him as "very smart, very eager and very polite".[16]

After the family's return to Pakistan, in 1995 the father Ahmed Khadr was arrested in Pakistan following Ayman al-Zawahiri's bombing of the Egyptian embassy there, and accused of financially aiding the conspirators.[16][18] After Ahmed was hospitalised after engaging in a hunger strike, 9-year-old Omar spent every night sleeping on the floor beside his father's bed until his father's release a year later for lack of evidence.[16]

In 1996, Khadr's father moved his family to Jalalabad, Afghanistan,[19] where he worked for an NGO.

Following the 1998 embassy bombings, the United States retaliated by bombing suspected al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. Expecting a similar retaliation following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the mother and children of the Khadr family retreated toward the Pakistani mountains, where the father visited infrequently. Omar helped by doing the family shopping, washed laundry and cooked meals.[14][16]

In early 2002, the youth was living in Waziristan with his mother and younger sister. He took up beading his mother's clothes as a hobby.[13] At one point, he was forced to wear a burqa and disguise himself as a girl to avoid scrutiny, an act that upset him.[13] When his father returned, Omar asked to be allowed to stay at a group home for young men, despite his mother's protests. His father agreed, and a month later allowed Omar to accompany a group of Arabs associated with Abu Laith al-Libi, who needed a Pashto translator during their stay in Khost.[13] The 15-year-old Khadr promised to check in regularly with his mother.[13][20][21]

According to charges signed in April 2007 by the military commission officer Susan J. Crawford, Khadr received "one-on-one" weapons training in June 2002,[22] and his visits to his mother and sister became less frequent.[13]

Firefight and capture[edit]

From approximately February 2002, a team of American soldiers were using the abandoned Soviet airbase in Khost, Afghanistan, as an intelligence-gathering outpost, where they tried to blend in and gain the trust of the local community.[20] In the early morning of July 27, 2002, a team made up of 19th Special Forces Group, the 505th Infantry Regiment and a "militia" of approximately twenty[23] Afghan fighters loyal to the warlord Pacha Khan Zadran and led by his brother Kamal, had been sent from the airbase on a reconnaissance mission.[20][23][24][25][26] The US forces' search turned up no evidence against the occupants of a house they checked out.[27][28]

While the US soldiers were at the house, a report came in that a monitored satellite phone had just been used 300–600 metres from the group's location.[23][26][27] Seven soldiers were sent to investigate the site of the phone call.[20][23] Led by Major Randy Watt, the group included XO Captain Mike Silver, Sgt Christopher Speer, Layne Morris and Master Sgt. Scotty Hansen, the latter three from the 19th Special Forces Group; Spc. Christopher J. Vedvick from the 505th, and his fire team.[20][23][29]

The men reached a residential complex with earthen huts and a granary surrounded by a 10-foot (3.0 m) stone wall, with a green metal gate approximately 100 metres from the main hut. They saw children playing around the buildings[13][28][30][31] and an old man sleeping under a nearby tree.[23]

American soldiers standing outside the compound

Seeing five men he described as "well-dressed," sitting around a fire in the main residence, with AK-47s visible in the room, Morris has said that he either approached and told the occupants to open the front door[31] or that he stayed out of sight, returned to his men and set up a perimeter around the complex.[23] Either way, the team waited 45 minutes for support from the soldiers searching the first residence. At one point, Morris chided the soldiers from the 82nd for setting up a defensive perimeter with their backs to the house, rather than covering the house.[23][26]

A crowd of approximately 100 local Afghans had gathered around the area to watch the incident unfold.[31] An Afghan militiaman was sent toward the house to demand the surrender of the occupants, but retreated under gunfire.[27]

Capt. Christopher W. Cirino

Reinforcements from the 3rd Platoon of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 505th Infantry Regiment arrived under the command of Captain Christopher W. Cirino,[30][32] bringing the total number of Americans and Afghan militia to about fifty.[33] Two of Zadran's militia were sent into the compound to speak with the residents; they returned to the US position and reported that the men claimed to be Pashtun villagers. The Americans told them to return and say the Americans wanted to search their house regardless of their affiliation.[32] Upon hearing this, the occupants of the hut opened fire, shooting both militiamen.[28][34]

Several women fled the huts and ran away, while the occupants began throwing grenades at the American troops, with intermittent rifle fire. After the firefight, one of the soldiers contradicted this, saying only one woman and one child were present, and both were detained by US forces after exiting the huts.[27]

Morris and Silver took up positions outside the stone wall,[20] when Morris fell back into Silver, with a cut above his right eye and shrapnel embedded in his nose. Both Silver and Morris first thought the wound was due to Morris's rifle malfunctioning, but it was later attributed to an unseen grenade.[20][35] In an alternate account, Morris has said that he was inside the compound and hiding behind the granary, preparing to fire a grenade into a wall of the house, when he was shot.[23] Morris was dragged a safe distance from the action, and was shortly after joined by Spc. Michael Rewakowski, Pfc. Brian Worth and Spc. Christopher J. Vedvick, who had also been wounded by the grenade attacks.[36]

At 9:10 UTC, they sent a request for MedEvac to the 57th Medical Detachment. Ten minutes later, a pair of UH-60s were deployed, with AH-64 Apaches as escort. Arriving at the scene, the Apaches strafed the compound with cannon and rocket fire, while the medical helicopters remained 12 miles (19 km) from the ongoing firefight.[24] The helicopters landed at 10:28 UTC to load the wounded aboard.[24][37] A pair of A-10 Warthogs performed gun runs and dropped 500lb bombs on the compound.[20][24]

Speer being unloaded at Bagram

At this point,[27] a five-vehicle convoy of ground reinforcements arrived, bringing the number of troops to approximately 100.[33] Two of these vehicles were damaged beyond use by the militants.[27] Ten minutes later, the MedEvac left for Bagram Airbase and planes arrived, bombing the houses along with the helicopters.[27] The MedEvac reached Bagram Airfield at 1130.[23][24]

Unaware that Khadr and a militant had survived the bombing, the ground forces sent a team consisting of OC-1,[27] Silver, Speer and three Delta Force soldiers[38] through a hole in the south side of the wall.[39]

The team began picking their way over dead animals and the bodies of three fighters.[20] According to Silver's 2007 telling of the event, he heard a sound "like a gunshot", and saw the three Delta Force soldiers duck; a grenade went by them and exploded near Speer at the rear of the group, "wearing Afghan garb and helmetless."[20][40][41][42] OC-1 reported that although he didn't hear any gunfire, the dust from the north side of the complex led him to believe the team was under fire from a shooter between the house and barn. He reported that a grenade was "lobbed" over the wall that led to the alley and landed 30–50 metres from the alley opening. Running towards the alley to escape the grenade, OC-1 fired a dozen M4 Carbine rounds into the alley as he ran past, although he couldn't see anything due to dust clouds. Crouching at the southeast entrance to the alleyway, OC-1 could see a man with a holstered pistol and two chest wounds moving on the ground next to an AK-47. From his position, OC-1 fired a single shot into the man's head, killing him.[27] When the dust cleared, OC-1 saw Khadr crouched on his knees facing away from the action and wounded by shrapnel (it had just permanently blinded his left eye);[28] he shot the youth twice in the back.[27]

Two soldiers kneel over the wounded Khadr.

OC-1 estimated that all the events since entering the wall had taken less than a minute up until this point, and that he had been the only American to fire his weapon. The soldiers threw an American grenade into the living quarters after first entering the complex.[27][43] Silver initially claimed that two Delta Force troops had opened fire, shooting all three of the shots into Khadr's chest, after the youth was seen to be holding a pistol and facing the troops.[20][28] These claims all directly contradict OC-1's version of events as the only eyewitness. OC-1 did agree however, that something was lying in the dust near Khadr's end of the alley, although he couldn't remember if it was a pistol or grenade.[27]

Entering the alleyway, OC-1 saw two dead men with a damaged AK-47 buried in rubble; he believed they had been killed in the airstrikes,[27] and confirmed that the man he had shot was dead. Moving back to Khadr, OC-1 tapped the motionless youth's eye, and found that he was alive. Turning him over onto his back for entering troops to secure, OC-1 began exiting the alleyway to find Speer, whom he was unaware had been wounded. While leaving the alleyway, he saw a third AK-47 and several grenades.[27] Contradicting Morris's report of five well-dressed men, OC-1 said that his search of the rubble determined there had been only four occupants, all found in the same alleyway.[27]

Khadr being treated by medics

Khadr was given on-site medical attention, during which time he repeatedly asked the medics to kill him, surprising them with his English. An officer present later recorded in his diary that he was about to tell a private to kill the badly wounded Khadr, when Delta Force soldiers ordered them not to harm the prisoner.[44] He was loaded aboard a CH-47 helicopter and flown to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, losing consciousness aboard the flight.[27][45]

Khadr had accompanied three of the men he was staying with, as they went to Ayub Kheyl, to meet with other militants. Neither of his parents was told about the meeting. After learning of the battle, Ahmed reportedly shouted at Abu Laith al-Libi for not taking better care of his son.[13][21][46]


Remains of the structure after bombing

The following day, soldiers including Silver returned to search the premises.[27] Local villagers were believed to have taken away the bodies of the two men killed and given them an Islamic burial. They refused to disclose the location to the Americans, who wanted to identify the fighters.[13]

Believing that the wooden boards beneath the last-killed rifleman could have been used to cover an underground chamber,[27] the soldiers used an excavator to tear down the walls of the buildings. They uncovered five boxes of rifle ammunition, two rockets, two grenades and three rocket-propelled grenades in the huts. Some had accidentally detonated while lying in the smouldering ruins.[13][47] A plastic bag was discovered in the granary, containing documents, wires and a videocassette.[13] OC-1's report claims the videotape was found in the main house, rather than the granary, and also mentioned detonators modeled as Sega game cartridges.[27]

Khadr handling explosives

The video shows Khadr toying with detonating cord as other men, including one later identified as Abu Laith al-Libi, assemble explosives in the same house that had been destroyed the day before by US forces. It is identifiable by its walls, rugs and the environment seen out the windows in the video.[20][27] The men plant landmines while smiling and joking with the cameraman.[13][31][48] A Voice of America report suggested that these were the landmines later recovered by American forces on a road between Gardez and Khost.[27]

The BBC said the US forces and militia had come under small arms fire; a US source noted it was the first time the enemy "had stood his ground" since Operation Anaconda had ended four months earlier.[36][49] Hansen and Watt were both awarded a Bronze Star, for running forward under fire to retrieve two fallen bodies. Sources differ on whether these were wounded American soldiers, including Layne Morris, or the two Afghan militiamen shot at the outset.[20][50] The five wounded men were awarded Purple Hearts.[36] Speer was moved from Bagram airbase to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he was removed from life support on August 7 and died; his heart, liver, lungs and kidneys were donated for use by other patients.[13]

Time at Bagram[edit]

The unconscious Khadr was airlifted to receive medical attention at Bagram. After he regained consciousness approximately a week later, interrogations began. He remained stretcher-bound for several weeks.[45] Col. Marjorie Mosier operated on his eyes after his arrival,[51] though fellow detainee Rhuhel Ahmed later said that Khadr had been denied other forms of surgery to save his eyesight as punishment for not giving interrogators the answers they sought.[52] His requests for darkened sunglasses to protect his failing eyesight were denied for "state security" reasons.[53]

According to a motion to suppress ruling[54][55] by Guantanamo military judge Patrick Parrish, various interrogation techniques were used on Khadr at Bagram including:[citation needed]

  1. The "Fear Up" technique. This technique is described by the judge as "a technique used as an attempt to raise the fear level of a detainee." In Khadr's case it included telling him that a detainee who "lied to interrogators" was raped in the showers by "big, black guys".
  2. The "love of freedom" and "Pride/Ego Down" techniques which, according to judge Parrish are "attempts to gather information through appealing to a person's desire to go home or implying that he was not really an important person.."
  3. The "Fear of Incarceration" technique, which the judge said was "an attempt to gain cooperation in order to return to a normal life rather than be detained."

Following the hearing, the military judge ruled that there was no credible evidence that Khadr had been tortured as alleged, and that his confession was gained after it was revealed that Americans had discovered a videotape of Khadr and others making IED's.[56]

On August 20, the United States informed Canada of the capture and asked them to confirm the identity of their prisoner.[57] Ten days later, Canadian officials sent a diplomatic query to the United States requesting consular access to their citizen being held at Bagram. The request was denied, with a statement that Canada would be notified only if Canadian citizens were transferred to Guantánamo Bay.[58] Around this time Khadr was visited by the Red Cross.[59]

Khadr states that he was refused pain medication for his wounds, that he had his hands tied above a door frame for hours, had cold water thrown on him, had a bag placed over his head and was threatened with military dogs, was flatulated upon, and forced to carry 5-gallon pails of water to aggravate his shoulder wound. Not allowed to use a washroom, he was forced to urinate on himself.[45][58] His chief interrogator was Joshua Claus. Following the in-custody death of wrongly accused Dilawar that same year, he pleaded guilty to abusing detainees to extract confessions.[60]

A letter from the Canadian embassy was sent on September 13, stating that "various laws of Canada and the United States" required special treatment of Khadr due to his age, and requesting that the United States not transfer Khadr to Guantanamo.[61][62]

Khadr was interrogated again on September 17, and US military reports that he stated he helped the militants because he had been told the United States was fighting a war against Islam.[63] When asked if he knew of a $1,500 bounty being offered for each American soldier killed in Afghanistan, he allegedly responded that he had heard the story, but didn't know who was offering the reward. When asked how that made him feel at the time, the US military reports that the 15-year-old stated "I wanted to kill a lot of American[s] to get lots of money".[63] Defence attorney Nathan Whitling later argued that it was "hardly convincing for the U.S. to suggest that in the midst of this battle, and after the entire site had been flattened by 500-pound bombs and everyone else in the compound killed, Omar was lying under the rubble thinking about how to earn himself $1,500."[63]

Khadr spent three months recuperating at Bagram. During that time he was often singled out for extensive labour by American soldiers who "made him work like a horse", referring to him as "Buckshot" and calling him a murderer. They claimed that he had thrown a grenade at a passing convoy delivering medical supplies.[64] He shared a cell with Moazzam Begg and ten others. He became conversational with guard Damien Corsetti, who was also one of his interrogators, and often spoke about basketball.[13]

Captives being flown to Guantanamo

On October 7, F.B.I. Agent Robert Fuller interrogated Khadr.[65] According to Fuller's report, written right after the interrogation, Fuller showed Khadr a photo book of al-Qaeda suspects. Khadr took several minutes to identify Maher Arar from one of the photographs. The report also stated that Khadr thought he saw Arar at a Kabul, Afghanistan safe house in September and October 2001.[66] The day after the interrogation, October 8, 2002, Arar, who had been in detention at J.F.K. airport for the past 12 days, was extraordinarily rendered to Syria.[65][66]

Khadr was transferred to Guantanamo along with Richard Belmar, Jamal Kiyemba and other captives on October 28, 2002, although Canadian officials were not notified as promised.[64][67] Shackled and fitted with surgical masks, painted-over goggles and ear protectors to ensure sensory deprivation, he recalled being kicked when he tried to stretch his legs.[13][45]

Time at Guantanamo[edit]

Muslim chaplain James Yee recalled Khadr slept with an English Mickey Mouse book clutched to his chest, which he'd been given by an interrogator.[13]

Khadr arrived at Guantanamo Bay on October 29 or 30, 2002, suspected of being an enemy combatant. He was recorded as standing 170 cm (5' 7") and weighing 70 kilos (155 lbs),[13] and recalled the guards said, "Welcome to Israel".[68] Despite being under 18, he was treated as an adult prisoner from the beginning at Guantanamo.[13] Officials considered him an "intelligence treasure trove," as his father was suspected of al-Qaeda activities, and the youth had personally met Osama bin Laden. They thought he might be able to offer answers about the al-Qaeda hierarchy, although Omar Khadr was 10 years old when he met bin Laden.[13]

Khadr initially spent much of his time in the prison hospital, where he spoke with the Muslim chaplain James Yee, although he didn't seek any religious counseling.[13] In February 2003, he wrote to his grandparents in Scarborough, Ontario, saying, "I pray for you very much and don't forgat me from your pray'rs and don't forget to writ me and if ther any problem writ me".[69]

On January 21, 2003, American military interrogators received a new standard operating procedure, and were told that they had to "radically create new methods and methodologies ... needed to complete this mission in defense of our nation".[13]

In February 2003, Canadian Foreign Affairs intelligence officer Jim Gould and an official from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) were allowed to interrogate Khadr.[70] For three weeks prior to the Canadian visit, the US guards deprived Khadr of sleep, moving him to a new cell every three hours for 21 days in order to "make him more amenable and willing to talk".[71]

Video of February 2003 interrogation by CSIS agents

Gould brought Khadr a Big Mac value meal,[69] and the government said the visit was "to ascertain Khadr's well-being." His attorney Nate Whitling argued that "(Foreign Affairs) is suggesting that the visit was actually for (Khadr's) benefit, but this is not the case".[72] His attorneys applied for and obtained an injunction from Justice Konrad von Finckenstein of the Federal Court of Canada to prevent CSIS from interrogating their client in the future.[72][73] The following month, a briefing from the Foreign Affairs department summarised Gould's findings, stating that Khadr was a "thoroughly 'screwed up' young man. All those persons who have been in positions of authority over him have abused him and his trust, for their own purposes."[13] Protesting that DFAIT and CSIS had been allowed to interrogate Khadr, but not the RCMP, Supt. Mike Cabana resigned his post in Project O Canada.[74]

Assistant Director of CSIS William Hooper assured the Canadian public the interrogation was not intended to secure intelligence for a United States prosecution. He said the information was freely shared with the Americans and the Canadians did not secure any guarantees, such as foregoing potential death penalty charges.[72]

For most of 2003, Khadr had a cell next to the British detainee Ruhal Ahmed; the two often discussed their favourite Hollywood films, including Braveheart, Die Hard and Harry Potter.[13] Ahmed later recalled that while after some interrogations Khadr returned to his cell smiling and discussing what movies he had been shown, other times he returned crying and would huddle in the corner with his blanket over his head.[13] In the early spring of 2003, Khadr was told "Your life is in my hands" by a military interrogator, who spat on him, tore out some of his hair and threatened to send him to a country that would torture him more thoroughly, making specific reference to an Egyptian Askri raqm tisa ("Soldier Number Nine") who enjoyed raping prisoners. The interrogation ended with Khadr being told he would spend the rest of his life in Guantanamo.[16] A few weeks later, an interrogator giving his name as Izmarai spoke to Khadr in Pashto, threatening to send him to a "new prison" at Bagram Airbase where "they like small boys".[16]

In all, Khadr has been reported to have been kept in solitary confinement for long periods of time; to have been denied adequate medical treatment; to have been subjected to short shackling, and left bound, in uncomfortable stress positions until he soiled himself.[58][75][76] Khadr's lawyers allege that his interrogators "dragged [him] back and forth in a mixture of his urine and pine oil" and did not provide a change of clothes for two days in March 2003.[77] At the end of March 2003, Omar was upgraded to "Level Four" security, and transferred to solitary confinement in a windowless and empty cell for the month of April.[16] In 2003, Khadr began leading prayer groups among the detainees.[69]

A year after he confided in Moazzam Begg, a British citizen who was then a detainee, that his older brother Abdurahman Khadr was working for the Americans,[13] Omar was allowed a brief talk with Abdurahman. He was also being held as a detainee at Guantanamo and has claimed to have been working for the CIA at the time as an informant. His brother was held 50 feet (15 m) away in a separate enclosure. The two shouted to each other in Arabic, and Omar told his older brother not to admit their family's dealings with al-Qaeda, and mentioned that he was losing his left eye.[78] During his stay, the younger Khadr memorised the Quran, according to a letter to his mother.[79]

In March 2004, the Canadian intelligence officer Jim Gould returned to Guantanamo, finding Khadr uncooperative. The Foreign Affairs office said that Khadr was trying to be a "tough guy" and impress his cellmates. His attorney Muneer Ahmad said that Khadr had originally thought Gould "had finally come to help him" in 2003, but by 2004 had realised that he was being interrogated, not aided, by the Canadian government.[69] In all, Khadr was interrogated by Canadians six times between 2003 and 2004,[80] and ordered to identify photos of Canadians believed to have ties to terrorism.[80] When he told the Canadians that he had been tortured by the Americans into giving false confessions, the Canadian authorities said he was a liar. Khadr cried. He later recalled that he had "tried to cooperate so that they would take me back to Canada".[80]

In January 2004, Lieutenant-Commander Barbara Burfeind said that the US had decided not to hold juveniles at Guantanamo any longer, leading Clive Stafford Smith to question why Khadr was facing a military tribunal.[81]

In August, the attorneys Rick Wilson and Muneer Ahmad submitted an "emergency motion" asking for the release of Khadr's medical records. Rebuffed, they were given a statement from the Guantanamo naval hospital commander Dr. John S. Edmondson that Khadr was "in good health", and a two-page document entitled "Healthcare Services Evaluation".[82]

In November 2004, following a meeting with his attorneys, Khadr was interrogated for four days about what he had discussed with his defence lawyers. He has said that during this time, interrogators used "extreme physical force" and refused to allow him to say his daily prayers.[83]

During this visit, the lawyers had administered a psychological questionnaire known as the "Mini–mental state examination", which they later gave to Dr. Eric W. Trupin, an expert in the developmental psychology of juveniles in confinement. Trupin ruled that Khadr was suffering from "delusions and hallucinations, suicidal behaviour and intense paranoia", and that his abuse had left him "particularly susceptible to mental coercion",[82] and at moderate to high risk of committing suicide.[16] Their efforts to secure approval by the US for an independent medical examination of their client were not successful by mid-2006.[84][85][86]

On March 19, 2005, Canadian government officials began a series of regular "welfare visits" to Khadr to monitor his behaviour. He was being held in Camp V, the maximum-security isolation camp, and they had reports that he had thrown urine at guards and was refusing to eat.[87] That year, his older sister Zaynab moved back to Canada from Pakistan to work for better treatment for Omar and his brother Abdullah.[88] Before May 2005, Khadr asked his attorney Wilson bring him Canadian magazines with "new model cars" to read[69] and later spoke to Canadian officials about his admiration for Mercedes-Benz and Bentley models.[87]

In April 2005, Khadr was given another written psychiatric test by his lawyers, which they gave for interpretation to Dr. Daryl Matthews. He is a forensic psychologist who had been invited to Guantanamo two years earlier by The Pentagon.[89] Matthews concluded that Khadr met the "full criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder" (PTSD).[82]

In May 2005, Khadr announced that he would no longer cooperate with any of the American attorneys on his case, including Colby Vokey, Rick Wilson and Kristine A. Huskey. His Canadian lawyers convinced him that he had to retain Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, due to the tribunal regulations which required a military lawyer to be part of the defense. Three months later, the Canadian court upheld the federal injunction banning any further interrogations of Khadr by CSIS.[90][91]

Khadr participated in the widespread July 2005 hunger strike by 200 detainees, going fifteen days without eating.[92] He was twice taken to the on-site hospital and force-fed. He said that on July 9 he was kicked and assaulted repeatedly by military police after collapsing from weakness.[82] On July 20, 2005, the Guantánamo detainee Omar Deghayes wrote in his diary, "Omar Khadr is very sick in our block. He is throwing [up] blood. They gave him cyrum [serum] when they found him on the floor in his cell." This extract was published in The Independent.[93]

In September 2005, Khadr was transferred out of the Camp V facility into Camp IV.[87]

Canadian demonstrators demanding Khadr's repatriation.

In 2006, the US Army began an investigation into the alleged abuse against Khadr while he had been held in Bagram.[94] In July he was transferred back to the isolation cells in Camp V after he expressed distrust of his military lawyers and called the guards "idiots".[87]

On March 6, 2006, he met Clive Stafford Smith, legal director of the British organisation Reprieve, who was representing numerous detainees. They met in the visitation area of Camp V. Khadr told Smith that he had been knocked unconscious by an American grenade blast and did not recall ever throwing any grenades while the firefight went on around him.[81] In March 2007, Khadr was permitted to speak with his mother by phone for the first time, nearly five years after his capture.[95] He was allowed one other phone call to his family, but had no contact from June 2007 to April 2008.[53][96] At that time, he was put into Camp VI, the section with the harshest conditions, for what the US said were "disciplinary reasons." Canadian officials argued this was unfair, as Khadr's behaviour largely depended on which camp he was held within. The US transferred him back to Camp IV.[87]

On April 9, 2008, a box of Khadr's documents was seized, ostensibly because items such as a Lord of the Rings screenplay were prohibited. Included were privileged correspondence with his attorneys; the legal documents were returned a few days later. He was ordered to cease playing dominoes or chess with his attorneys.[97]

Lt. Cmdr. Kuebler arranged for a psychological evaluation from Kate Porterfield, who visited Khadr three times in November 2008. Porterfield reported that she was finding it hard to establish trust with Khadr, which she said was "to be expected in cases like Khadr's where young people had been abused".[98]

This drawing Khadr made was offered by his defense as indicative that he was a peaceful person with a good prospect for peaceful reintegration into the mainstream of Canadian society.

Starting in June 2009, Khadr was a participant in an art program for compliant captives and his art instructor's positive observations were offered on his behalf at his sentencing hearing.[99]

Legal trials[edit]

Combatant Status Review Tribunal[edit]

The trailer where CSR Tribunals were held.

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June 2004 Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that detainees are entitled to limited rights of due process. Consequently, the Department of Defense instituted "Combatant Status Review Tribunals".[100]

On August 31, 2004, a Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Khadr's Combatant Status Review Tribunal. The summary alleged that he had admitted he threw a grenade which killed a U.S. soldier, attended an al Qaida training camp in Kabul and worked as a translator for al Qaida to coordinate land mine missions. In addition, he was accused of helping to plant the landmines between Khost and Ghardez, and having visited an airport near Khost to collect information on U.S. convoy movements.[101]

His actual tribunal was convened on September 7, as Panel #5 reviewed his status in the detainment camp. The tribunal concluded that Khadr was an "enemy combatant" and a one-page summary of conclusions was released on September 17.[102]

O.K. v. George W. Bush[edit]

Following the successful Supreme Court ruling in Rasul v. Bush (2004) which ruled that detainees had the right of habeas corpus to challenge their detentions, Khadr's maternal grandmother Fatmah el-Samnah, acting as next friend, filed a civil suit against the United States on Khadr's behalf on July 2, 2004, to challenge his detention.[103]

The suit was named O.K. v. George W. Bush, since Khadr was still a minor at the time of its filing.[104] It was at this time that the American Rick Wilson was added to Khadr's defence team.[105]

On September 21, 2004, more than sixty Habeas motions filed by Guantanamo detainees were transferred to a single suit before senior Judge Joyce Hens Green for coordination. The remaining issue in the suit, having Khadr's medical records released to his attorneys and gaining an independent medical review of his health while in custody, remained with Judge John D. Bates.[104]

On October 26, Bates rejected the motion, stating that "no charges have been brought against petitioner, and accordingly there is no reason to undertake any inquiry into petitioner's mental competence".[104]

On August 4, 2008, Department of Justice officials responded to a motion that Khadr should not stand trial because he was a child soldier.[106]

First tribunal[edit]

The original Military Commissions were convened in the unused airfield terminal.

In 2005, the United States announced that they were assembling the necessary framework to hold newly crafted Guantanamo military commissions. Believing that Khadr's case represented one of the "easiest" cases to prove, the United States selected him as one of ten detainees to be charged under this new system.[107]

The chief prosecutor Fred Borch attracted internal complaints (discussed publicly in 2006) while court challenges to the process were proceeding.[108][109][110] He was replaced by Robert L. Swann,[111] who was replaced in September 2005 by Col. Morris Davis.[citation needed]

On November 7, 2005, Khadr was formally charged with murder by an unprivileged belligerent, attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent, aiding the enemy and conspiracy with Usama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, Sayeed al Masri, Muhammad Atef, Saif al-Adel, Ahmed Khadr "and various other members of the al Qaida organization".[112] The United States informally indicated they would not seek the death penalty for Khadr.[113]

On December 1, 2005 the officers were appointed to Khadr's specific commission.[114] Capt. John Merriam was made Khadr's official defence attorney, but agreed with counsel Muneer Ahmad that he lacked trial experience as a defence attorney, and both men requested that he be replaced.[115][116] Lt. Col. Colby Vokey was named as Merriam's replacement.[citation needed]

Prosecutor Morris Davis became known for his "often-flamboyant quotes" about Khadr, referring to media coverage of the tribunal as "nauseating", and noting that Khadr didn't spend his time in Afghan camps "making s'mores and learning how to tie knots".[117]

On January 11, 2006 Khadr appeared at his pre-trial hearing wearing a Roots Canada T-shirt, leading judge Robert Chester to order him to wear more suitable attire in the future.[115] The following day, he wore a blue-checkered shirt.[118] Chester insisted that both the prosecution and defence stop referring to Khadr as "Omar" and instead use "Mr. Khadr" to denote the serious nature of the charges facing him.[118] The defense attorney Vokey, a Marine attorney, retired after he was disciplined for calling the tribunals a "sham" that left him feeling "disgusted".[119]

Khadr and the other nine detainees who faced charges were transferred to solitary confinement on March 30.[120] Six days later, Khadr wrote a note to the court saying, "Excuse me Mr. Judge,... I'm being punished for exercising my right and being co-operative in participating in this military commission. For that, I say with my respect to you and everybody else here, that I'm boycotting these procedures until I be treated humanely and fair."[121]

The commissions were struck down as unconstitutional on June 29, 2006 by the Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which stated that "The military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949."[122]

Davis resigned as the Guantanamo prosecutor on October 6, 2007, hours after William Haynes was made his superior officer. He said that he was not going to take orders from "the guy who said waterboarding is A-okay".[123] He was ordered by his superiors to silence his criticisms.[117]

Second tribunal[edit]

The interior of the courtroom where the tribunal hearing is held.

After the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was signed in October 2006, new charges were sworn against Khadr on February 2, 2007. He was charged with Murder in Violation of the Law of War, Attempted Murder in Violation of the Law of War, Conspiracy, Providing Material Support for Terrorism and Spying.[19] Canadian attorney Dennis Edney was barred from appearing at the October arraignment, after he criticized Kuebler's efforts, stating that the military lawyer had focused his energy on lobbying Canadian authorities to have Khadr repatriated, at the cost of preparing for the actual trial.[124][125]

Khadr petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the legality of the military commission and his detention, but this request was denied in April 2007.[126]

On June 1, Edney said that he would not seek any plea bargain for Khadr that would likely see him serve 30 years in prison.[127] Peter Brownback dismissed the charges three days later, stating that Khadr had been previously classified as an "enemy combatant" by his Combatant Status Review Tribunal in 2004, while the Military Commissions Act only granted him jurisdiction to rule over "Unlawful enemy combatants".[128][129]

On September 9, 2007, charges were reinstated against Khadr after the Court of Military Commission Review overturned Brownback's dismissal, stating that the tribunal could determine the legality of a detainee's status for itself.[130]

On October 9, Jeffrey Groharing argued that the prosecution should not be required to identify their witnesses, stating that Khadr was "certainly capable of exacting revenge" against witnesses if he were allowed the right to face his accusers. Brownback ruled that while the defense attorneys had the right to know the identity of the witnesses, that information could not be given to Khadr himself.[131]

In November, while prosecutors were "desperately" trying to introduce the 27-minute video found in the wreckage,[132] the tape was leaked to the media by an unknown source and shown on 60 Minutes. Four months later, Kuebler stated that following conversations with the show's producers, he believed that the video was leaked by Vice President Dick Cheney's office.[133]

The United Nations requested that Radhika Coomaraswamy, special representative for children in armed conflict, be allowed to watch the tribunal, but the request was denied.[134]

In January, the defence put forward three separate motions to dismiss the trial, arguing that it violated the Constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder, that the commission lacked jurisdiction because Khadr had been a minor when the incident occurred and that there was a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Sixteen days after the February 4 hearing on the motions, Brownback dismissed the first claim. He dismissed the second claim in April,[135] but has reserved judgment on the third.[136][137][138]

February also saw the accidental release of a five-page "OC-1" witness report to reporters, which revealed that Khadr had not been the only survivor in the compound, as previously claimed, and that nobody had seen him throw the grenade. Officials insisted that the reporters all had to return their copies of the document or face expulsion from the hearings, but after a 90-minute standoff between reporters and military officials, it was agreed that they could retain their copies of the report, but had to redact three names from the report.[138][139]

A new tent-city is being built at Guantanamo to house the upcoming trials.

In March, Kuebler insisted that "Lt. Col. W." had initially written in his report the day after the firefight that "the person who threw a grenade that killed Sgt. 1st Class Christopher J. Speer also died in the firefight", implying that the grenade had indeed been thrown by the surviving Mujahideen, and not by Khadr. The report was rewritten months later to say that the grenade thrower had been "engaged", rather than "killed", changing the wording that exonerated Khadr.[140] In response, Brownback ordered that the commander be made available for an interview by the defence counsel no later than April 4.[141] and postponed the scheduled May 5 date for the murder trial to begin,[142] while prosecutor Groharing urged Brownback to begin the trial as soon as possible, stressing a "need for justice" for Speer's widow.[143]

The following month, Kuebler suggested it was possible that the fatal grenade had actually been one of those being thrown into the compound by American troops while the small team searched the interior.[39]

Kuebler accused the military of encouraging interrogators to "minimize certain legal issues" by keeping as few records as possible and destroying their notes, and suggested he would seek a dismissal.[144]

On May 8, 2008, Brownback threatened to suspend the military hearing if prosecutors did not provide the defense with a number of documents, including an al-Qaeda membership list, documents on the relationship between al-Qaeda and al-Libi's Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, copies of the Detainee Information Management System records related to Khadr's treatment in Guantanamo, documents on the use of children by al-Qaeda, investigator notes of witness interviews, details about the militants who were killed in the 2002 firefight, and others.[145][146] Prosecutors did agree to turn over the videotape of Canadian intelligence official Jim Gould and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents interrogating Khadr in February 2003, but said they would alter the tape to hide the identity of the interrogators.[145] Following Brownback's "ruling against the government", the Pentagon announced that he was being removed from the trial in favour of Patrick Parrish, leading critics to highlight what they believed was "more evidence of the illegitimacy" of the tribunal and that official explanations of the timing as being coincidental were "unconvincing".[147][148][149] Parrish, known as "Rocket Docket" for his tendency to speed through trials, immediately ordered a court date of October 8, 2008.[150]

On September 4, Parrish barred Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann from participating in the Tribunal because of his "undue command influence", the third such trial Hartmann was alleged of trying to corrupt.[151] On October 22, 2008, it was revealed that the Prosecution had given the Defense team an incomplete version of Khadr's medical records five months earlier, and Parrish granted a delay citing the "consequences" of the decision for the prosecution.[152] In December, the Prosecution announced it was withdrawing its intended witness who was to testify that Khadr had confessed to the crimes in December 2004 during interrogation; ostensibly to "cover up" the abusive methods used to make the youth confess.[153]

On March 8, 2010, Steven Edwards of the Canwest News Service reported that US officials were quietly putting pressure on Canada to accept repatriation of Khadr.[154] Edwards didn't name the official he quoted, who told him elements within the Obama Presidency "don't have the stomach to try a child for war crimes". He did identify Samantha Power, Michael Posner and Harold Koh as three political appointees with a background in human rights. He pointed out that Posner was the founding director of Human Rights First, which had advocated Khadr's repatriation. He stated that he had been told that US efforts to repatriate Khadr would remain unofficial, because, for political reasons, the Obama administration wanted to publicly agree to a request that officially was initiated in Canada.[citation needed]

On July 7, 2010, less than one week before the beginning of preliminary hearings in his trial before a military commission, Khadr fired his entire team of lawyers and announced that he would act as his own legal defense. Later in the month, Khadr accepted Lieutenant Colonel Jon S. Jackson as his lead defense counsel. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson is reported to have worked behind the scenes for several months to work on a plea agreement that would return Khadr to Canada within one year.[citation needed]

Canadian documentation[edit]

The video of Khadr's interrogation blotted out the faces of interrogators.

Khadr's defence attorneys claimed that the Canadian government acted illegally, sending its counsel and CSIS agents to Guantanamo Bay to interrogate Khadr and turning their findings over to the Tribunal prosecutors to help convict Khadr,[155] and that the release of the documents might help prove Khadr's innocence.[61] In 2007, the Federal Court of Appeal ordered the Canadian government to turn over its records related to Khadr's time in captivity, as judge Richard Mosley stated it was apparent that Canada had violated international law.[71] The government appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2008, arguing that Khadr was just "fishing" for information and that disclosing their records, which included an initial account of the firefight that differs from all previously seen reports,[156] could jeopardise national security.[157] Critics alleged that the refusal to release the classified documents was due to the "embarrassment" they caused the government.[157][158]

On May 23, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the government had acted illegally, contravening s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and ordered the videotapes of the interrogation released.[159]

In April 2009, the Federal Court of Canada ruled again that Khadr's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated. It concluded that Canada had a "duty to protect" Khadr and ordered the Canadian government to request that the U.S. return him to Canada as soon as possible.[160] In August 2009, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision in a 2–1 ruling.[161] Finally, in January 2010, in a unanimous 9–0 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the participation of Canadian officials in Khadr's interrogations at Guantanamo clearly violated his rights under the Charter. In its sharply worded decision, the Supreme Court referred to the denial of Khadr's legal rights as well as to the use of sleep deprivation techniques to soften him up for interrogation:

The deprivation of [Khadr's] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.


But, the Supreme Court stopped short of ordering the government to seek Khadr's return to Canada. It left it to the government to determine how to exercise its duty to conduct foreign affairs while also upholding its obligation to respect Khadr's constitutional rights.[163]

Civil lawsuit[edit]

Sgt. Layne Morris and Sgt. Speer's widow Tabitha, both represented by Donald Winder,[164] filed a civil suit against the estate of Ahmed Khadr, claiming that the father's failure to control his son resulted in the loss of Speer's life and Morris's right eye. Since United States law does not allow civil lawsuits against "acts of war", Speer and Morris relied on the argument that Khadr's throwing the grenade was an act of terrorism, rather than war. In February 2006, Utah District Court Judge Paul Cassell awarded the plaintiffs $102.6 million in damages, approximately $94 million to Speer and $8 million to Morris.[165] He said it likely marks the first time terrorist acts have resulted in civil liabilities.[166] It has been suggested that the plaintiffs might collect funds via the U.S. Terrorism Risk Insurance Act,[167] but the Federal government is not bound by civil rulings, and it has refused to release Khadr's frozen assets.[168]

United Nations reaction to Khadr trial[edit]

Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and former U.S. national security adviser, expressed opposition in 2010 to the plan to prosecute Khadr by a tribunal. He said,

"Anyone prosecuted for offences they allegedly committed as a child should be treated in accordance with international juvenile justice standards providing special protections. Omar Khadr should not be prosecuted by a tribunal that is neither equipped nor required to provide these protections and meet these standards."[170]

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN secretary-general's special representative for children and armed conflict, wrote in a 2010 statement that the proposed trial violated international legal norms and "may endanger the status of child soldiers all over the world."[171]

"Since World War II, no child has been prosecuted for a war crime," Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N.'s special representative for Children and Armed Conflict said in a statement distributed by the U.N. on the eve of Khadr's trial here. Khadr represents the "classic child soldier narrative: recruited by unscrupulous groups to undertake actions at the bidding of adults to fight battles they barely understand." Coomaraswamy called for Khadr to be released into a rehabilitation program.[171]

Canadian response to Omar Khadr[edit]

A child at a 2008 demonstration demanding Khadr's repatriation

In 2008 Foreign Affairs officials visited Khadr several times. Karim Amégan and Suneeta Millington reported that Khadr was "salvageable" if allowed to return to Canadian society, but that keeping him in the prison would risk radicalizing him.[172] As of January 2009, 64% of Canadians supported repatriating Khadr to Canada,[173] up from 41% in June 2007.[174]

The Wikileaks Cablegate disclosures in 2010 revealed that the Canadian government had decided against seeking Khadr's repatriation, a decision supported by the US. This made it "politically impossible" for the country to accept custody of Uighur former detainees whom the US was unable to return to China.[175] The Wikileaks cables showed strong US interest in Canadian reaction to Khadr's case. Jim Judd, the director of Canada's intelligence agency, expressed his belief that the release of DVD footage of Khadr's interrogation at Guantanamo by Canadian officials, in which he is shown crying, would lead to "knee-jerk anti-Americanism" and "paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty".[175]

Former Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire has been an outspoken advocate for Omar Khadr's rights as a former child soldier. In July 2012, Dallaire set up a petition putting pressure on then Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to honour the plea bargain deal Khadr made in 2010 when he was released to Canadian custody. 35,000 concerned citizens signed the petition. Omar was repatriated in September 2012.[176]

Dallaire: "Omar has been 10 years in jail already, in a jail so many have considered illegal and inappropriate. He's been tortured to get testimony out of him and through all that has seen no support whatsoever."[177]

Guilty plea[edit]

On October 25, 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to murder in violation of the laws of war, attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, two counts of providing material support for terrorism and spying.[178][179] Under the plea deal, Khadr would serve at least one year in Guantanamo Bay before any transfer to Canadian custody. Canadian authorities denied any agreement to repatriate Khadr.[7][180][181]

Clinton's office facilitates repatriation[edit]

As the time approached when Khadr was eligible for repatriation to Canada, two cabinet ministers made contradictory statements as to whether Canada would accept custody of him.[182] On March 24, 2012, The New York Times reported on continued delays in Khadr's repatriation, attributing it to delays within the Canadian government.[183] These delays were affecting the prosecutors' ability to get other low-level detainees to agree to plea deals.[183]

On November 30, 2015, State Department emails from Hillary Clinton's private email account were released which revealed how Clinton and her staff worked with Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird to effect Khadr's return to Canada. Clinton's office was delighted over the news that Omar Khadr was being repatriated to a prison in his home country. Harold Koh, the State Department lawyer, emailed of Khadr's transfer: "Gtmo is 1 down!! Yayy!" To a colleague who congratulated the team on its work, Koh replied: "Hooray! Thanks for the call to FM Baird!" Clinton emailed Koh,"Thank you for all you did to get this resolved." "So glad we got this done," said Koh. "After spending the last 10 years on GTMO, at least this young man finally has another chance."[184]

Return to Canada[edit]

Khadr was transferred to Canadian custody on September 29, 2012, to serve the remainder of his sentence.[185] He was incarcerated at maximum-security prison Millhaven Institution near Bath, Kingston, Ontario, upon his arrival.[186] Under Canadian law, he was eligible for parole in mid-2013.[187] Due to his murder conviction, Khadr was classified as a prisoner to be held in maximum security.[188] This delayed his application for parole, as such prisoners were unlikely to be given parole.[188]

On March 14, 2013, Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press reported that Corrections Canada was continuing to refuse to let journalists interview Khadr.[188] Officials justified the refusal by asserting an interview could interfere with Khadr's treatment plan, could pose a security risk, or could be disruptive.[188]

On August 13, 2013, Khadr's lawyers, Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling filed a brief arguing that under Canada's International Transfer of Offenders Act, it was not legal to hold Khadr in an adult institution, because the eight-year sentence he received from the U.S. military commission could only be interpreted as a youth sentence and he should be detained in a provincial jail rather than a federal prison.[189] Minister of Public Safety Stephen Blaney said, "Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to very serious crimes, including the murder of American army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer. The government of Canada will vigorously defend against any attempted court action to lessen his punishment for these crimes."[190] On December 13, 2013, the Edmonton Journal reported that Kelly Hartle, the warden at the Edmonton maximum security facility had reclassified Khadr as a medium-security prisoner.[191] On February 11, 2014, The Canadian Press reported Khadr had been transferred to a medium security facility.[192] On March 26, 2014, Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press reported that Khadr had been temporarily transferred to a secure prison medical facility in Saskatchewan for shoulder surgery.[193] According to Khadr's lawyer Dennis Edney, Khadr's shoulder had been infected, internally, since he was wounded in July 2002. Guantanamo medical authorities had never properly treated his wounds. The surgery required scraping infected tissue from his shoulder bones, and required 24-hour care for four weeks, while he recovered.[194] In April 2015, Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press reported that Khadr had been reclassified as a minimum security prisoner.[195]

Keryluk memo[edit]

On March 18, 2013, the Toronto Star reported that a key memo drafted for Minister of Public Safety Toews by senior analyst Liliane Keryluk had faulty information. It influenced Toews' decision in how Khadr would be treated as a prisoner.[196][197] The memo was drafted in October 2011, the year before Khadr was repatriated. According to the Toronto Star, the memo to Toews contained allegations that went beyond charges filed by US prosecutors against Khadr and those admitted in Khadr's confession, claiming that he had killed two members of the Afghan militia force and thrown grenades wounding more.[196] Khadr had confessed to conspiracy in the firefight, but prosecutors charged him with throwing only the grenade that killed Sgt. Christopher Speer. Other parts of the memo claimed that Khadr "conspired with" Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.[196] Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, said: "There is no evidence whatsoever to support these false allegations."[196]


On May 7, 2015, Khadr was freed on bail with strict conditions, including living with and under supervision of his lawyer Edney.[198] Following his release, in the first public interview Khadr has been allowed by either US or Canadian governments, he begged the public to "give him a chance to prove himself", saying he is not the man the authorities have portrayed.[199] On May 8, 2015, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was unapologetic about his government's efforts to keep Omar Khadr imprisoned.[200]

In September 2015 some of his bail restrictions were lifted so that he no longer has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and will be allowed to visit his grandparents in Toronto and speak to them in a language other than English.

Justice June Ross of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta also ordered the removal of monitoring software on the laptop computer Khadr uses for school. The software was interfering with the operations of the computer and Alberta Justice had been unable to help resolve the problems.

When Khadr travels to Toronto, he must travel with his lawyer and meet with authorities there.[201]

On 1 October 2015 he flew to Toronto with his lawyer to visit his grandparents. The trip dispelled questions as to whether he was able to board a commercial aircraft in Canada because of the potential that he was on a no-fly-list.[202]

On February 18, 2016 the newly elected Liberal federal government dropped the appeal started by the previous Conservative federal government that sought to revoke his bail.[203]

Khadr is engaged to Muna Abougoush, an Edmonton-based human-rights advocate who helped launch an international campaign to free him and who corresponded with him while he was in prison.[204]

Representation in other media[edit]

A Canadian documentary, You Don't Like the Truth: Four Days Inside Guantanamo (2010), was made based on footage of interrogations of the young Khadr by Canadian intelligence while he was held at Guantanamo. It received numerous awards.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michelle Shepard (4 February 2008). "Khadr secret document released by accident". The Star. 
  2. ^ "Charges" (PDF). April 24, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Omar Ahmed Khadr". Human Rights First. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Sean Flynn, "The Defense Will Not Rest", GQ Magazine, August 2007, p. 1
  5. ^ "FAQs about the Military Commissions Act". The Center for Victims of Torture. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  6. ^ Savage, Charlie (October 25, 2010). "Deal Averts Trial of Guantánamo Prisoner, Omar Khadr". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b "Diplomatic Notes" (PDF). October 24, 2010. 
  8. ^ Jane Sutton (November 1, 2010). "Guantanamo Canadian to serve 8 more years in prison". Reuters. 
  9. ^ "Omar Khadr returns to Canada". CBC News. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Shephard, Michelle (13 December 2013). "Omar Khadr: No memory of firefight in Afghanistan". The Star. Toronto. 
  11. ^ "Omar Khadr explains war-crimes guilty pleas in court filing". CBC News. 13 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Fine, Sean (May 14, 2015). "Supreme Court rules Omar Khadr was sentenced as a juvenile in minutes". The Globe and Mail. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Shephard, Michelle (2008). Guantanamo's Child. John Wiley & Sons. 
  14. ^ a b, both inactive archived site and current site
  15. ^ "Omar Khadr: A timeline of events". Toronto Sun. QMI. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tietz, Jeff (August 24, 2006), "The Unending Torture of Omar Khadr", Rolling Stone (1007), pp. 60–64, 102–104, archived from the original on December 3, 2007 
  17. ^ "The Khadr family", CTV News, January 12, 2006
  18. ^ Richard A. Clarke, Statement to the House on Terrorist Financing to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, October 22, 2003
  19. ^ a b "Notification of the Swearing of Charges" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Shephard, Michelle. Toronto Star, Khadr goes on trial, April 29, 2007
  21. ^ a b CBS News, "Omar Khadr: The Youngest Terrorist?"
  22. ^ CBS News, "Murder Charges For Canadian Gitmo Inmate", CBS News, April 24, 2007
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McLeon, Kagan, National Post, "One U.S. soldier was killed and four others injured in a fierce gun battle in a remote village in Afghanistan."
  24. ^ a b c d e Dustoff Newsletter, "Rescue of the Year", Fall-Winter 2002
  25. ^ Baldauf, Scott. Christian Science Monitor, "Firefight shows strong al-Qaeda persistence", July 29, 2002
  26. ^ a b c Vincent, Isabel. National Post, ""The Good Son", December 28, 2002.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u OC-1 CITF witness report, March 17, 2004
  28. ^ a b c d e Worthington, Andy. The trials of Omar Khadr, Guantánamo's "child soldier", November 7, 2007.
  29. ^ Mike Leavitt. "Utah State of the State Address, January 21, 2003
  30. ^ a b Fayetteville Observer story on firefight, August 3, 2002
  31. ^ a b c d Bravin, Jess. Wall Street Journal. "At Guantanamo, even 'easy' cases have lingered", December 18, 2006
  32. ^ a b Drudge, Michael. VOA News, Afghanistan/Combat, August 1, 2002
  33. ^ a b Schmitt, Eric. The New York Times, "A Green Beret Dies of Wounds Sustained in Afghanistan in July", August 13, 2002
  34. ^ Note: The translators have been describe in reports as "wounded" or "killed" by the opening fire
  35. ^ Struck, Doug. Washington Post, "In Canada, an Outcast Family Finds Support", June 9, 2005
  36. ^ a b c Schult, Ann Marie. ArmyLINK News, "Five Injured in most recent Afghan firefight awarded Purple Hearts", August 2, 2002
  37. ^ "57th Med Wins DUSTOFF laurels. For Combat Rescue in 'Cherry' LZ". Sikorsky Aircraft. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. 
  38. ^ It is not clear if OC-1 was one of the Delta Force soldiers
  39. ^ a b CBC, "Did Friendly Fire Kill Medic, Not Khadr?", April 12, 2008
  40. ^ Koring, Paul (22 November 2013). "Omar Khadr war-crimes appeal in U.S. could face lengthy delay". Globe & Mail. Retrieved 2015-01-19. 
  41. ^ Humphreys, Adrian. "Khadrs must pay $102M", National Post, February 20, 2006
  42. ^ Canoe inc. "Widow of dead soldier emotional at Khadr's trial". 
  43. ^ Shephard, Michelle. "Omar Khadr 'innocent' in death of US soldier", Toronto Star, October 28, 2009
  44. ^ "Captured Khadr nearly executed: documents", Toronto Star, March 19, 2008
  45. ^ a b c d Affidavit of Omar Ahmed Khadr, February 22, 2008
  46. ^ Maggie Farley (2007-06-23). "Guantanamo inmate stirs debate in Canada". Los Angeles Times. p. a2. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. 
  47. ^ Fox News Channel, "U.S. Troops Discover Weapons Cache in Afghanistan", July 29, 2002 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  48. ^ CBS News, "Omar Khadr: The Youngest Terrorist?, Was Only 15 Years Old When He Was Captured In Afghanistan"
  49. ^ BBC, "US soldiers caught in Afghan ambush", BBC, July 27, 2002
  50. ^ House, Dawn. Salt Lake Tribune, "Some troops doubt Afghanistan effort is adequate", March 20, 2004
  51. ^ Montreal Gazette, "Doctor to testify in last days of Khadr trial", January 19, 2009
  52. ^ Center for Constitutional Rights, Composite statement: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed
  53. ^ a b Sinnema, Jodie. Edmonton Sun, "Lawyer paints dark picture of client, April 23, 2008
  54. ^ Michael Welner, New English Review Posting,pages 3 and 4 of the Ruling, Ruling attached to Welner: Risk Assessment of Radical Jihadism Emerges With Khadr Jury November 5, 2010
  55. ^ "Welner: Risk Assessment of Radical Jihadism Emerges With Khadr Jury Ruling". 
  56. ^ "RSupression Hearing: Ruling" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  57. ^ Lumpkin, John J. Associated Press, "Canadian teen in U.S. military custody after Afghan firefight", Sign on San Diego, September 5, 2002
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]