Omar Khadr: Confessed jihadist, Hunger Games fan

Janet Hamlin

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

October 2, 2012 – Globe and Mail

Curricula for convicted terrorists aren’t the stuff of everyday academia.

So when Omar Khadr’s U.S. legal team asked Arlette Zinck, an English professor at King’s University College in Edmonton, to design and deliver a lesson plan for the Guantanamo Bay detainee, she and her colleagues had their work cut out for them.

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Omar Khadr in Canadian prison after return from Guantanamo Bay

Janet Hamlin

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

September 29, 2012 – Globe and Mail

For the first time in 10 years and three months, Omar Khadr’s fate rests outside the hands of politicians and military personnel.

Toronto-born Mr. Khadr left Guantanamo Bay’s detention centre in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning via U.S. military aircraft. He set foot on Canadian soil just over three hours later.

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Khadr’s lawyers ask court to demand decision on Guantanamo detainee’s return to Canada

Janet Hamlin

Saturday, July 14 – Globe and Mail

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Omar Khadr’s Canadian lawyers are asking a federal court to order Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to make up his mind on whether to bring the Canadian convict back to serve time in Canada.

In an application filed on Friday, John Norris and Brydie Bethell asked judges to review what they argue is an unreasonable delay in deciding on Mr. Khadr’s transfer application. The 25-year-old was eligible to return to serve the rest of his sentence in Canada as of October, 2011.

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Khadr’s lawyer out of hospital, fit to resume trial

 

Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson, Omar Khadr's military-appointed lawyer, is pictured speaking to the media in a hangar at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay.
(Photo by Anna Mehler Paperny/Globe and Mail)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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Omar Khadr’s lawyer is out of hospital, is off painkillers and will be able to go to trial once the Canadian detainee’s Guantanamo Bay hearing resumes.

Dates for the trial, postponed for about a month after Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson collapsed in pain during cross-examination, are still up in the air. But witnesses are being asked to clear their day books as part of the complex scheduling that goes into co-ordinating war-court proceedings at the U.S. naval base.

Stephen Xenakis, the retired brigadier-general and a defence-team physician in close contact with Mr. Khadr, is preparing to make his case before the war tribunal. He hopes to convince the seven-person military jury what military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish didn’t believe: that the now 23-year-old Mr. Khadr endured enough physical and psychological torment to traumatize him and render his testimony unusable.

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Khadr trial asks jury: Jihadist or scared teen?

Friday, August 13, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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GUANTANAMO BAY — Omar Khadr was either an enthusiastic teen jihadist who happily planted explosive devices and comforted himself in times of loneliness with thoughts of killing U.S. soldiers.

Or he was a frightened, cowed 15-year-old, dragged by a zealous father to Afghanistan against his will, caught up with a bad crowd, taken captive while gravely wounded and tortured into submission and confession by his captors.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s military jury was presented two contrasting portraits of the young man. Duelling sides of his Guantanamo Bay war-crimes trial sought to trump each other in painting what happened during a protracted 2002 Afghan firefight that left a U.S. army sergeant dead and the then-15-year-old severely wounded in U.S. custody.

But the opening salvos in what promises to be a long battle of competing narratives were cut short Thursday when Mr. Khadr’s military-appointed lawyer passed out during cross-examination, apparently from pain related to gallbladder surgery six weeks ago.

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With a polite introduction of the accused, jury selection begins in Khadr trial

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA — A fighter pilot from the first Gulf War; a former military policewoman; a battalion commander who lost troops to an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.

Omar Khadr got his first glimpse of the people who will decide his fate in a Guantanamo Bay courtroom Tuesday. Lawyers for the prosecution and defence spent hours quizzing 15 panel members on everything from their views on al-Qaeda and prosecuting juveniles, to the ages of their children and their military experience.

The session offered a look at the individuals – all members of the U.S. armed forces – who will decide not only the verdict in the 23-year-old Canadian’s case, but also his sentence in the event of a conviction.

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Khadr’s confessions ruled admissible

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA — A Guantanamo Bay military judge has dealt a blow to Canadian Omar Khadr’s legal case: All the confessions the prosecution wanted to submit at his war-crimes trial are fair game.

The decision, coming late Monday afternoon, supports the prosecution’s argument that threats of gang rape and alleged abuse in one interrogation do not taint confessions in another.

It dramatically strengthens the most serious charge against Mr. Khadr – that of murdering a U.S. Army sergeant in an Afghan firefight at the age of 15. If convicted, the 23-year-old could face life imprisonment.

Now, after formally entering a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf, Mr. Khadr’s lawyer will have to convince a panel of military jurors that the evidence against Mr. Khadr is “poisoned,” unreliable and that the case falls apart without it.

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As Omar Khadr gets ready to face military court, a letter to his lawyer highlights his angst and sense of persecution

Monday, August 9, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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Sitting in court, heavy brows furrowed, fists propped under bearded chin and black sneakers looking out of place with loose white prison garb, he looks like a profoundly fed-up twentysomething.

But in a letter to his Canadian lawyer earlier this year, the scrawled handwriting and syncopated cadence read like those of a much younger, conflicted individual: “Sometimes there are things you can’t say, but rather write on paper, and even if i were to tell you you wont understand,” it opens. “So anyway here are the things.”

“It seems that we’ve done everything,” he adds later in the letter released recently by the lawyer, “but the world doesn’t get it. … I really don’t want to live in a life like this.”

“I hate being the head of the speer, Dennis.”

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Lawyer’s illness delays Khadr trial for a month

Saturday, August 14, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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GUANTANAMO BAY — Eight years after he was taken into U.S. custody, five years after charges were first filed and just a day after opening arguments, the latest obstacle to Omar Khadr’s war-crimes trial going forward is not a defence motion, a Supreme Court ruling or a president hoping to close Guantanamo Bay. It is one lawyer in a lot of pain.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson, the military-appointed lawyer Mr. Khadr tried to fire last month and the only person authorized to represent him in the trial that could lock him up for life, was to be evacuated from Guantanamo Bay after collapsing in court Thursday.

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In plea to U.S. supreme court, a last-ditch attempt to stop Khadr trial

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
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The military-appointed lawyer Omar Khadr tried to fire last month has launched a last-ditch attempt to stop the military tribunal that could lock up the 23-year-old Canadian for life, petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the proceedings.

It’s the top court’s obligation to stop a trial that might be illegal in the first place, Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson argues – especially because the results of next month’s court proceedings in Guantanamo Bay could result in a life sentence for Mr. Khadr.

“The potential harm to the petitioner [Mr. Khadr] is enormous – subjection to a trial on a potential life sentence that is entirely illegitimate and should not even have been charged, much less tried,” the petition reads.

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