Omar Khadr can remove electronic bracelet, visit family in Toronto
Khadr, living in Edmonton, was released on bail in May pending appeal in U.S. of war crimes conviction
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr no longer has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, and will be allowed to visit his grandparents in Toronto and speak to them in a language other than English, a judge ruled today.
Justice June Ross of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench also ordered the removal of monitoring software on the laptop computer Khadr uses for school. The software is interfering with the operations of the computer and Alberta Justice has been unable to help resolve the problems.
When Khadr makes the trip to Toronto this fall, he must travel with his lawyer and meet with authorities there, Ross ruled.
She called the conditions faced by Khadr "unusually restrictive."
Khadr, 28, was released on bail in May pending an appeal in the U.S. of his conviction for war crimes, including the murder of an American soldier. He has been living in Edmonton with his lawyer, Dennis Edney.
Last week, Ross agreed to alter some of Khadr's bail conditions to allow him to attend early morning prayers and a night class.
The judge said she wanted to hear from Khadr's bail supervisor before considering his other requests. The bail supervisor said Khadr has followed all his bail conditions up until now.
Khadr had to follow a condition where he could only speak to his family in English and in the presence of a chaperone. However, his grandfather doesn't speak English.
Khadr's mother and one of his sisters made pro al-Qaeda remarks in the past. But Khadr's lawyers say they aren't even in Canada. He told the judge that his client is now mature enough not to be influenced by their views.
The Crown argued last week that it is in the public interest for Khadr to keep wearing the monitoring bracelet. The Crown also opposed the visit to Ontario, but said if the request was to be granted, there should be restrictions on who Khadr can see.
Before his release in May, Khadr spent 13 years in prison, 10 at Guantanamo Bay.
He was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old after a firefight with U.S. soldiers, and accused of throwing a grenade that killed the American soldier.
In a plea deal that included his repatriation to Canada, Khadr pleaded guilty on Oct. 25, 2010, to murder in violation of the laws of war, attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, conspiracy, and two counts of providing material support for terrorism and spying.
He was returned to Canada on Sept. 29, 2012, to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Since Khadr's release, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that if he were to go back into custody, he would be held as a provincial prisoner not a federal one.