WATCH ABOVE: Omar Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney, slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his inaction on helping Omar Khadr. Edney called Harper, “a bigot” and said he chose to pick on a 15-year-old who was held in a “hellhole.”
The reaction was swift and inflammatory Thursday after an Edmonton judge denied the federal government’s request to keep Omar Khadr in prison.
Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney, didn’t mince words when speaking to reporters outside of the Edmonton courthouse when he condemned Stephen Harper and his government for not doing more to help Khadr.
“I was asked in Guantanamo a number of times, ‘Why is Canada not doing something for this young man?’ You’d have to ask Mr. Harper. My view is very clear; Mr. Harper is a bigot. Mr. Harper doesn’t like Muslims,” Edney said.
“It’s perhaps, also political. He wants to show he’s tough on crime and who does he pick on? A 15-year-old boy who was picked up and put in a hell hole in Guantanamo.”
READ MORE: Timeline of the legal odyssey of Omar Khadr
Nate Whitling, Khadr’s other lawyer, also said the federal government’s opposition to Khadr’s release is based in politics.
“We think that unfortunately the government has lost a lot of its objectivity in this case,” he said.
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The Toronto-born Khadr was picked up in July 2002 after being accused of throwing the grenade which killed U.S. Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, a member of the army division storming the Jalalabad compound in which Khadr was staying. He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in October, 2002.
He was granted bail in April and an Edmonton judge confirmed that ruling Thursday, blocking the government’s bid to keep Khadr behind bars.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a statement shortly after the Edmonton judge’s decision that the government was “disappointed.”
“We are disappointed with today’s decision, and regret that a convicted terrorist has been allowed back into Canadian society without having served his full sentence. Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, including the murder of American Army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer,” the statement read.
“By his own admission, as reported in the media, his ideology has not changed.”
The news of Khadr’s release also sparked intense debate on social media with many people praising the decision while many others condemned it.