Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Omar Khadr Bail Situation in Limbo until Thursday but Conditions Hammered Out

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Omar Khadr Bail Situation in Limbo until Thursday but Conditions Hammered Out

Article excerpt

Omar Khadr bail in limbo until Thursday

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EDMONTON - Any hopes Omar Khadr had of tasting freedom for the first time in almost 13 years were dashed Tuesday when an Alberta justice said she wanted more time to consider whether he should be released on bail.

Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby said she would decide Thursday whether to grant the federal government's request to keep him behind bars despite a lower court order that he be freed.

Khadr, who had watched the proceedings intently, showed little emotion as he was led from court following arguments, but one of his lawyers, Dennis Edney, was clearly disappointed with the decision.

"Well, of course, I'd like to grab him, throw him in the car, take him home," Edney said outside court.

"When I listen to the argument from the government going on, it's all smoke and mirrors."

At issue is an April 24 order from Court of Queen's Bench Justice June Ross that Khadr, 28, should be given bail pending his appeal of his war crimes conviction in the United States.

He was due for release as early as Tuesday under Ross's order and Edney had arrived with a bag of clothes his wife Patricia had bought fully prepared to take Khadr home for supper.

"We've been in every court in the land and back again," Edney said. "So we have a lot of patience."

The federal government sought the last-ditch stay, arguing that Ross's order threatens the international treaty under which Khadr was brought back to Canada from Guantanamo Bay in 2012.

As such, Crown prosecutor Bruce Hughson said, bail for Khadr would cause "irreparable harm" to other Canadian prisoners seeking to return to Canada and damage the country's international standing.

Hughson leaned heavily on an affidavit from Lee Redpath, a senior Correctional Service of Canada official, who said, "A foreign government would no longer have faith in what it is that we are doing."

The lawyer also said releasing Khadr "abruptly" on bail -- given his long incarceration -- would pose a risk.

Khadr's other lawyer, Nate Whitling, called the government's position purely speculative. Under normal circumstances, prisoner transfers never happen if there is an appeal pending, he noted. …

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