Dennis Edney, Omar Khadr’s long-term Canadian civilian lawyer, has been in the UK since last week, on a tour organised by the London Guantánamo Campaign, so I’m posting details of his speaking events for anyone who has not yet heard him talk, and also to notify readers, supporters of Omar Khadr and opponents of Guantánamo that I’ll be joining Dennis at an event in Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in Shoreditch tomorrow evening. To support Dennis’s ongoing and extensive legal costs, please visit this page, and to support the costs of the UK tour, please see here.
Regular readers will know that I have been covering Omar’s story since I first began working on Guantánamo eight years ago. I wrote about him in my book The Guantánamo Files, and when I began writing articles on a full-time basis, in June 2007, Omar’s was one of the first cases that I addressed, when he was charged in the second version of the Bush administration’s troubled military commissions, after the first version was thrown out by the US Supreme Court for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions — and, specifically, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits torture and humiliating and degrading treatment, and requires any trials to be in “a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”
Omar, of course, never received such protections, even when the commissions were revived with Congressional approval, or when, under President Obama, they were brought back for a second time. In the end, to be assured of ever leaving Guantánamo, he accepted a plea deal in October 2010, admitting to war crimes that had been invented by Congress, and, moreover, providing a permanent stain on the reputation of President obama, who not only allowed a plea deal based on invented war crimes to take place, but did so to a former child prisoner (just 15 when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002), even though, according to the the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, to which both the US and Canada are signatories, juvenile prisoners (those under 18 when their alleged crimes take place) must be rehabilitated rather than punished.
According to the terms of his illegitimate plea deal, Omar was supposed to spend one more year in Guantánamo, followed by seven more years of prison in Canada. However, it took nearly two years for the Canadian government to arrange his return, and since then the Harper administration has fought long and hard to keep Omar in maximum-security detention, even though there is no justifiable reason for doing so. The prison authorities have only recently relented, and Omar has now been moved to a medium-security facility, where he can begin to take the necessary steps towards applying for parole.
In the meantime, please come and hear Dennis Edney speak if you’re in London, or nearby. He has six more events this week prior to his return to Canada, including the one on Tuesday evening, at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in Shoreditch, at which I have also been asked to speak. As the London Guantánamo Campaign explains, “The tour ends on 20 March. All of these events are open to the public and free to attend. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity.”
The list of events is below:
Monday March 17, 2014, 2-4pm: “Omar Khadr: Guantánamo’s Child: A Travesty of Justice,” with Dennis Edney
Birkbeck College, Room B20, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX
This event is organised by a coalition of student societies at Birkbeck College. See the Facebook page here.
Tuesday March 18, 2014, 12.30-2.30pm: “Defending Guantánamo’s Youngest Inmate: Security, International Law and Human Rights,” with Dennis Edney
Clement House, Room CLM 3.02, The London School of Economics and Political Science, 99-101 Aldwych, London WC2B 4JF
This event is organised by the LSE SU Grimshaw International Relations Club. See the Facebook page here. See a map here.
Tuesday March 18, 2014, 4.30-5.30pm: QM Amnesty Presents: Guantánamo lawyer Dennis Edney on Omar Khadr
Queen’s Building, Rm W206, Queen Mary’s University of London, Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS
This event is organised by QM Amnesty. See the Facebook page here.
Tuesday March 18, 2014, 7-9pm: “Defending Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner,” with Dennis Edney and Andy Worthington
Human Rights Action Centre, 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
This event is organised by Amnesty International UK. See the Amnesty International page here.
Thursday March 20, 2014, 7.30pm, March meeting: Q&A with Dennis Edney
Liberal Synagogue in St John’s Wood, 28 St. John’s Wood Road, NW8 7HA
This event is organised by Amnesty St John’s Wood. See the Amnesty International page here.
For further information, please email the London Guantánamo Campaign or call Aisha Maniar on 07809 757176.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).
To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.
Thanks to everyone who has liked and shared this – in particular for your interest in the indefatigable work of Dennis Edney on Omar’s behalf. I hope to see some of you tomorrow!
Zilma L. Nunes wrote:
They are starving for justice, not vengeance , right ?
I touch this point not for provoke you , but I’m almost sure that so many people has afraid about it …Anyway , justice must be done .Good luck..
Yes, it’s always about justice, Zilma, although some supporters of Guantanamo have tried to make it about their fears of vengeance. I believe that the truth is, however, that few of the prisoners want vengeance, and most just want to try and rebuild their shattered lives, be with their families, find work and, if they were not married, also find a wife.
On Facebook, Muna Abougoush posted this about the event at Amnesty HQ:
If I could fly to the UK for an event it would be this one. My good friends Aaf Post, Dennis Edney, and Andy Worthington are presenting this evening. Solidarity from Canada!
Thanks, Muna. And what a great evening it was. I was delighted to meet Dennis and Aaf for the first time, we had an attentive crowd, and Dennis’s talk was very powerful.
Sara SN wrote:
I was really looking forward to finally meeting you, but unfortunately could not make it in time for the events to the UK. Very happy you are a part of this and speaking tonight, thank you.
Sorry you couldn’t make it, Sara. It would have been great to meet.
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