Omar Khadr asking for ease in bail conditions

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner wants to be able to visit his family in Toronto


EDMONTON — Lawyers for former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr are to be in court today to argue for an ease in his bail conditions.

Khadr wants to be able to visit his family in Toronto and get rid of his electronic monitoring bracelet.

An Edmonton judge released Khadr on bail in May pending an appeal in the United States of his conviction for war crimes, including the murder of an American soldier.

Khadr was 15 when he was captured following a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, and became the youngest prisoner at the time to be held in Guantanamo.

In 2010, a U.S. military commission sentenced him to another eight years behind bars and he was transferred home to Canada in 2012.

Related reading: Inside the mind of Omar Khadr

Khadr’s bail conditions include that he live with one of his Edmonton lawyers, Dennis Edney, and only communicate with his family in English and under supervision.

Some of Khadr’s family have expressed pro-al-Qaida views in the past. Khadr says in an affidavit that they are not involved in any illegal activity and he’s now an independent adult.

“Even if the members of my family were to wish to influence my religious or other views, they would not be able to control or influence me in any negative manner,” said the 29-year-old.

Related reading: Why I changed my mind about Omar Khadr 

He said his grandmother in Toronto is ill and his grandfather barely speaks English. He wants to be able to visit them alone and to also see his mother, siblings and other relatives while in Toronto.

He also said his electronic ankle bracelet is uncomfortable and has mistakenly gone off several times. He further wants to be allowed to leave his lawyer’s home at 5 a.m. to attend early morning prayers.

Lawyer Nathan Whitling says in the court application that his client’s bail conditions are “no longer necessary or in the public interest.”

The federal government is appealing the original bail decision. It has frequently branded Khadr an unrepentant terrorist and said he should serve his full sentence.