Omar Khadr in 30 points To better understand the Omar Khadr Affair!

  1. Omar Khadr was born in Toronto, Canada, on September 19th, 1986;


  1. Wen he was 15 years of age, Omar was left by his father in a compound in Afghanistan, promising to return and pick him up but never did;


  1. The compound was later attacked and bombed by the U.S. military with Omar being the sole survivor;


  1. During the firefight, he suffered terrible injuries having been shot twice in the back; his shoulder shattered and partially paralysed. To this day, he continues to suffer from extensive shrapnel injuries, including being permanently blind in one eye and limited vision in his other eye;


  1. While unconscious, he was transferred to a hospital in the notorious U.S. detention Centre, Bagram, Afghanistan;


  1. He remained unconscious for seven days;



  1. From the moment Omar gained consciousness, he was physically beaten, water boarded and threatened with snarling dogs, while a hood would be wrapped so tightly around his head that he could hardly breathe causing him to panic and pass out, which was the intended purpose in the first place.


  1. Omar’s principal interrogator in Bagram was SGT Joshua Claus, who acknowledged at Omar’s trial that he had interrogated him 20-25 times, over a three-month period, for up to six hours at a time at the Bagram hospital, often while pain medication was withdrawn and while sleep deprived.


  1. Sgt Clause was later charged and convicted of the death of a Muslim detainee and the severe injury of 2 other detainees using the same interrogation techniques that he used on Omar. He was given a 6-month prison sentence which was stayed in exchange for testifying against Omar.


  1. Omar was 15 years of age when he arrived in the infamous island prison complex of Guantanamo Bay and remained there for ten years.



  1. Whatever sufferings Omar experienced in Bagram continued in Guantanamo Bay.



  1. During his ten detention years in Guantanamo Bay, Omar suffered prolonged solitary confinement, torture and abuse.


  1. In 2002, the Canadian government requested the United Sates government not to send Omar Khadr to Guantanamo after he was captured in Afghanistan. Ottawa argued that the prison camp in Guantanamo, Cuba, was an “inappropriate” place for Khadr, a Canadian citizen, because he was just 15 years old at the time. The letter noted that the U.S. and Canada have laws providing for special treatment of young suspects. “As such, the Government of Canada believes it would be inappropriate for Mr. Omar Khadr to be transferred to the detention facilities at the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay,” the letter said. The letter also expressed concern over “ambiguity” in early accounts of Khadr’s role in the events leading up to his capture. A section that apparently described the conflict was edited.


  1. Omar was detained for more than two years before he was provided access to a lawyer, and three more years before he was charged before the initial military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.


  1. While other children detained at Guantanamo were given special housing and education, and were all eventually released to rehabilitation programs in Afghanistan with the help of Human Rights Watch, Omar Khadr remained the sole child in Guantanamo who housed with adult detainees without any access to education or other rehabilitation assistance.


  1. Concerns over U.S. mistreatment in Guantanamo and the lack of due process afforded by Military Commissions led to all, western (and many non-western) nations to demand the release of their nationals and residents from Guantanamo Bay, adults everyone, and that was granted. (DENNIS: PLEASE WHEN DID THAT HAPPENNED?)


  1. Canada took no steps to repatriate Omar. He became the last westerner detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


  1. Rather than requesting repatriation of its citizen to his home country, as did every
    other Western nation with a citizen at Guantanamo, Canada became complicit in his abuse. Canadian officials interrogated Khadr, in 2003, with the knowledge that his U.S. captors had used techniques to facilitate interrogation including weeks of sleep deprivation. These actions by Canadian officials were declared by the Supreme Court of Canada in January 2010 to have violated the Charter’s principles of fundamental justice, “offending” the most basic Canadian standard about the treatment of detained youth subjects”. The Supreme Court noted in its decision that a request for repatriation would be an appropriate remedy to redress the violations by the Canadian government, declining to order it only as a matter of government comity. Yet, the Canadian government refused to request his return.



  1. In 2007, the Pentagon charged Omar Khadr (20 years of age) with murder, attempted murder, aiding the enemy, conspiracy and spying. Since Omar was a minor at the time he was detained, the Bush administration was the first Western government in history to put a child on trial for war crimes, all in violation of international law.


  1. Omar Khadr was entitled to various protections under International law, including the Convention on Torture, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Consular Relations Act and many more, and all denied him. As a signatory to all these international treaties, Canada had an obligation to protest when they are not being applied to one of its citizen’s, especially a vulnerable child of 15 years of age, Omar Khadr, but did not do so.


  1. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that, regardless of the circumstances, the arrest, detention, or imprisonment of a child should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Yet, despite pressure to request the transfer of Omar Khadr to Canada, Foreign Affairs Canada stated “it would be premature to intervene as long as he is facing charges”.


  1. Omar faces the prospect of being the first child to be prosecuted for “war crimes” in modern history. Despite the fact that it contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict, of which Canada was one of the first signatories.


  1. Khadr’s military trial commenced in August 2010. During the course of the trial, a plea agreement was negotiated. He would receive a sentence of 8 years, serving one of the years in Guantanamo, with remaining seven served in Canada subject to Canadian parole. Without the plea agreement, Omar was facing a 40 year-sentence.


  1. The fruits of his interrogations by Canadian intelligence agents, while sleep deprived for weeks, was used as evidence in his trial.


  1. The jury did not see the video of Omar lying on the floor of his cell crying for his mother while being interrogated by CSIS and CIA agents. Nor did they hear evidence of sadistic abuses experienced while in custody or that he had spent a large portion of his prison life in solitary confinement.



  1. Former General and now senator, Romeo Dallaire, in his recent book on Child Soldiers described the stance of the Canadian government with regards to Omar as a “black mark on Canada’s international reputation and standing in the fight for Child’s Rights and Human Rights as a whole”.


  1. Khadr’s formal application for transfer to Canada was submitted to Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, in the spring of 2011. Even although the U.S. fulfilled its conditions precedent to his repatriation in April 2012, Canada had not complied with its own commitment in a timely fashion. Canada is now responsible for the additional year Khadr spent in Guantanamo.


  1. Omar was finally released on bail on May 7th, 2015.


  1. In July 2017, Omar Khadr received an apology and was given a $10.5 million settlement from Ottawa for his mistreatment by Canadian officials while held as a minor in Guantanamo.


  1. It has long been argued on behalf of Khadr that his convictions are not recognised as war crimes under international law. The U.S. Federal Court has upheld this legal principle in a string of appeal cases. Omar Khadr has waited since 2012 for his appeal to be heard by the U.S. Military Commission in Guantanamo Bay without any movement whatsoever.




For Omar Khadr