'This is a human rights issue': Campaign raises money for Omar Khadr's legal expenses

September is an important month for the Omar Khadr file.

Today is Omar Khadr's twenty-seventh birthday. He has been incarcerated since he was 15.

September 29 marks the first anniversary of Omar Khadr's repatriation to Canada after 10 years in Guantánamo and Bagram. He spent his first nine months in the Millhaven maximum-security prison before being transferred in May to another maximum security institution in Edmonton. He has spent most of the year in solitary confinement as he has for the past 11 years.

On September 23, Dennis Edney, Omar Khadr's lawyer will be in an Edmonton court arguing Omar Khadr should be released from maximum-security prison into a provincial institute because as a young offender he cannot legally be detained in a maximum-security prison. A rally under the banner of "Omar Khadr is welcome here" is scheduled at 8:30 am in front of the Law Courts on Sir Winston Churchill Square.

Edney has support from Ivan Zinger, Canada's prisoner ombudsman, who says that Khadr is not a maximum security threat and that there is no evidence of problematic behavior on Khadr's part.

"Even the Americans classified Khadr as a minimum security risk," said Zinger in a letter to Corrections Services Canada, recently released by Canadian Press.

Edney's application is being vigorously opposed by the Conservative government who spokesperson Steve Blaney continues to refer to Kader as the "convicted terrorist."

On September 12, in an open letter to the community, a group of British Columbia activists launched a Canada-wide campaign to raise $20,000 to help pay Omar Khadr's legal expenses.

Peter Golden, a Victoria human rights lawyer and one of the initiators of the campaign stated: "This is a human rights issue. Omar Khadr was a 15 year old child when he was captured and he continues to languish in jail 11 years later."

According to another campaign sponsor, Gary Caroline, a Vancouver labour and human rights lawyer: "Dennis will still be providing free legal representation to Omar but your financial contribution will let them both know they are not fighting this alone."

You can read the open letter and access information on the fundraising campaign here

Paul Tetrault and Kathy Copps are members of the Free Omar Khadr Now Committee .

Photo: howlmontreal / flickr 

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.