(Canadian Press photo)

Omar Khadr wants unfettered access to sister, other bail changes

Zaynab Khadr has been subject to RCMP investigations in the past

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr returns to court this week to ask that his bail conditions be eased, including allowing him unfettered contact with his controversial older sister, more freedom to move around Canada, and unrestricted internet access.

In support of his request, Khadr notes the conditions originally imposed two years ago were necessary as a graduated integration plan following his 13 years in American and Canadian custody. No issues have arisen since his release and the various restrictions have been revised several times _ most recently in May last year, he says.

Currently, Khadr, 30, can only have contact with his sister Zaynab if one of his lawyers or bail supervisor is present. The condition is no longer necessary, he says.

“I am now an adult and I think independently,” he says in an affidavit. “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.”

Zaynab Khadr, 37, who recently had a fourth child in Egypt, according to court filings obtained by The Canadian Press, was detained in Turkey a year ago for an expired visa. She and her fourth husband subsequently moved to Malaysia but are now said to be living in Sudan and planning to visit Canada.

“I would like to be able to spend time with her and the rest of our family when she is here,” Omar Khadr states. “As far as I am aware, Zaynab is not involved in any criminal activities and is frequently in contact with the Canadian embassy in order to ensure that her paperwork is up to date.”

Zaynab Khadr, who was born in Ottawa, was at one point unable to get a Canadian passport after frequently reporting hers lost. She was also subject to an RCMP investigation in 2005 but faced no charges. Her third husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle, is reportedly still a Taliban hostage along with his American wife and children in Afghanistan. In 2008, she went on a hunger strike on Parliament Hill to draw attention to her brother’s plight as an American captive in Guantanamo Bay.

Several years ago, she and her mother infuriated many Canadians by expressing pro-al-Qaida views. Omar Khadr told The Canadian Press last month that he saw no point in decrying their views.

“I’m not excusing what they said. I’m not justifying what they said,” Khadr said. “They were going through a hard time. They said things out of anger or frustration.”

Khadr, who recently married, says a college in Red Deer, Alta., about a half hour from where he spent time in maximum security after his return from Guantanamo Bay, has accepted him into its nursing program. He says he plans to leave his Edmonton apartment at the end of September and find new accommodation.

In another bail-variation request the court in Edmonton will consider on Thursday, Khadr asks for an end to a condition that he provide his supervisor notice about his travel plans within Alberta, and that he obtain permission to travel outside the province. Requiring him to remain in Canada would be sufficient, the documents state. He also wants restrictions on accessing computers or the internet lifted.

In May 2015, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice June Ross granted Khadr bail pending appeal of his conviction by a widely maligned U.S. military commission for five purported war crimes. The appeal in the States has stalled through circumstances outside his control and nothing has changed since his release, his filing says.

Khadr found himself at the centre of a fierce political firestorm amid word last month that the Canadian government, which apologized to him for breaching his rights, had paid him $10.5 million in compensation. He says he just wants to get on with his life.

“I wish to become independent and to put my legal matters behind me,” he says in his affidavit. “I am a law-abiding citizen and I wish to live free of court-imposed conditions.”

American soldiers captured a badly wounded Khadr, then 15 years old, in July 2002 following a fierce assault on a compound in Afghanistan in which a U.S. special forces soldier was killed. Khadr later said he pleaded guilty before the commission to throwing the deadly grenade as a way out of American detention. He returned to Canada in 2012 to serve out the rest of the eight-year sentence he was given.

Just Posted

Okanagan Great Ogogogo Bathtub Race beats fundraising goal

Total money raised from the race series is $124,500

VIDEO: Rain doesn’t stop Penticton Terry Fox Run

Around 200 people showed up to raise money for cancer research Sunday

1955 Vees reign again at Classics hockey tourney in Penticton

The 1955 World Championship Vees took home the Moog Cup at minor hockey tournament

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

Coming Home: Penticton fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

VIDEO: Rain doesn’t stop Penticton Terry Fox Run

Around 200 people showed up to raise money for cancer research Sunday

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Athlete of the Week: William Buttar

Though he is little, William Buttar is fierce as he makes his introduction into the sporting world

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

Urban Agriculture: Food forestry rooted in thinking of the ecosystem

Columnist dives into Okanagan urban agriculture

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Most Read