Omar Khadr, who spent more than 12 years in U.S. custody after he was detained at age 15 and sent to Guantanamo, has been released on bail following a Canadian court decision today. As ordered by the court, Khadr will live with the family of his long-time lawyer Dennis Edney and be subject to bail conditions including electronic monitoring and a curfew.
Khadr was subjected to torture or other ill-treatment and then prosecuted in Guantanamo’s military commissions system—a system that fails to meet international fair trial standards.
“Khadr’s tragic story underscores why Guantanamo should close,” said Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program. “Every remaining detainee should be treated as an individual, rather than a symbol or political football. Everyone at Guantanamo must either be charged and fairly tried or released.”
One hundred and twenty-two men remain at Guantanamo. Congress is debating new legislation that would effectively block all transfers out of the prison, including for the 57 individuals whom the U.S. government has cleared for transfer. Unless President Obama acts by threatening to veto the legislation, Guantanamo will remain open indefinitely and, under a subsequent administration, it could even be refilled with newly captured detainees.