Taxpayers apathetic that Ottawa spending millions to fight Khadr case: lawyer

·Crime Contributor
Taxpayers apathetic that Ottawa spending millions to fight Khadr case: lawyer

Omar Khadr’s lawyer says the Canadian government – despite losing 10 straight court challenges – continues to pull out all the stops and spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars to keep his client in jail.

Khadr, who was once held at Guantanamo Bay, is to be released on bail after a recent court ruling in Canada. That case is scheduled to be heard Tuesday in Edmonton.

But lawyers for the federal government, which has stated in Parliament that it is opposed to his release, have scheduled a surprise hearing to try to derail the process, Khadr’s lawyer tells Yahoo Canada News.

“We now have two hearings - first is the stay of proceedings and then in the afternoon we have an already scheduled hearing,” Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney said in a telephone interview Monday.

Calls for an explanation about the government’s stay application by Yahoo Canada News have not been returned.

The federal government’s application is to be heard by Alberta’s Court of Appeal just hours before another court hearing is scheduled to decide on his release conditions.

Nearly two weeks ago, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice June Ross ruled that Khadr could be released on bail while he appeals a U.S. conviction for war crimes.

The Harper government expressed disappointment in the ruling at the time and said it would appeal. Officials and politicians repeated Ottawa’s claim that granting the now 28-year-old man bail would jeopardize diplomatic relations with the United States. However, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said Friday it would not be an issue.

Edney told Yahoo Canada News the government is doing battle in a court room where they have continuously lost.

“We have not lost a single case against this government in 10 years,” he said. “This is more about the Harper government wanting to send a message as they are clearly not interested in the rule of law.”

Asked how Khadr is holding up given the latest legal snag, Edney replied: "He’s cautious of course and I want to be cautious as we are fighting against governments they have all the money and all the power. It’s a long haul.”

Edney said there seems to be little backlash from the public against the government for being wasteful.

“Taxpayers don’t seem to care that this government is spending multi millions to fight Khadr, while we’re spending our savings to fight it.”

The Toronto-born Khadr was has been in custody since the age of 15 when he was apprehended in Afghanistan convicted in a plea bargain of five crimes, including killing an American soldier.

He has been struggle over the rule of law, security and terrorism and flawed justice of the Guantanamo military commissions.

Edney revealed for the first time in an interview with the Edmonton Journal that despite his young age when imprisoned, Khadr underwent the controversial torture of waterboarding or simulated drowning during his time in the U.S military prison in Guantanamo Bay. He also underwent three weeks of intense sleep deprivation, before Canadian officials interrogated him.

Edney is hoping his client will learn the conditions of his bail on Tuesday, including a provision that he live with his lawyer during his release. .

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