Patricia Edney says it's a 'delight' to have Omar Khadr in her home

It's a scene that's continued to dominate the news today: Omar Khadr, free on bail, speaking to reporters on Thursday night in front of an Edmonton home. That's the home of Patricia Edney. She's married to Dennis Edney, Khadr's lawyer. One of the conditions of his bail is that he must live in the Edney home.

Wife of Khadr's lawyer Dennis Edney speaks with As It Happens

Omar Khadr with his lawyer Dennis Edney arrives at Edney's home in Edmonton, May 7, 2015. The former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr got his first taste of freedom in almost 13 years. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
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It's a scene that's continued to dominate the news today: Omar Khadr, free on bail, speaking to reporters last night in front of an Edmonton home. That's the home of Patricia Edney. She's married to Dennis Edney, Khadr's lawyer.

One of the conditions of his bail is that he must live in the Edney home. Ms. Edney tells As it Happens co-host Carol Off that it was a "natural offshoot" of her husband's legal strategy to have Khadr live with them.

She says Dennis Edney has "watched Omar grow from an injured man -- a boy -- to a tall, confident, talented man."  She says after visiting Khadr in jail she shares her husband's impression.

"He's a lovely man," she said. "It was a very easy step to take. Of course, we could offer our home for him to come and live in when he got out on bail."

She says her neighbours have been welcoming and supportive "without exception."

"As a matter of fact, when Omar and I were out shopping today, there were two cakes delivered from our neighbours and a beautiful card and some flowers. They are welcoming him, and it just touches my heart because I thought that would be the case, but I didn't know for sure."

She said her only reservation about having Khadr as a house guest was the media attention.

"It's behind us now," she says of the throngs that gathered outside her house on Thursday night.

Khadr has been through a long legal process. He has admitted to throwing a grenade in the firefight that led to his arrest. He was convicted of war crimes, including the killing of a U.S. special forces soldier, by a widely maligned U.S. military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Not all Canadians support his release, and the federal government has actively fought it in the courts. While many see Khadr as a former child soldier, others believe he acted as a jihadist and should still be punished for the U.S. soldier's death. 

Edney says Khadr has not reached out to his family. There are strict bail conditions attached to any contact with them.

She tells As it Happens they drove to the store to do some clothes shopping today, but Khadr's real hope is to get on two wheels.

"He wants to go for a bike ride," she says.

Asked how long he's welcome to stay in the Edney home, she says: "As long as he's required to and as long as he wishes to be."