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Omar Khadr speaks after Edmonton judge reserves decision on bail condition changes

WATCH: Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr appeared in court in Edmonton Thursday in hopes of having the conditions of his bail loosened.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr says he will continue to fight for his freedom.

Khadr, 32, was in an Edmonton courtroom Thursday to apply for changes to bail conditions which were imposed on him while he appeals war crimes convictions by a U.S. military commission.

He is asking for a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister on his own.

“When I initially asked for bail, I didn’t expect it to take this long,” Khadr said in a statement outside court. “My sentence initially should have ended this past October.

“This is not the first time my life has been held in suspension. I am going to continue to fight this injustice and thankfully we have an actual court system that has actual rules and laws.”

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READ MORE: Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr wants Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught at age 15 and accused of tossing a grenade that killed special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

His lawyer, Nathan Whitling, told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice June Ross that his client has been a “model of compliance” and should have his bail conditions loosened. He said Khadr’s appeal in the U.S. hasn’t “moved a single inch” while his client has obeyed all the conditions of his release.

“There is still no end in sight,” he told Ross. “Mr. Khadr has now been out on bail so long and has an impeccable record.

“My goodness, when is this going to end?”

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WATCH: Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer 

Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer
Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer

Khadr wants to perform the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims once in their lifetime.

“There’s no good reason why he shouldn’t be able to do that,” Whitling said.

READ MORE: ‘A great day for justice:’ Omar Khadr free on bail after 13 years in prison

Khadr would also like to be able to speak on the phone or over Skype to his sister Zaynab Khadr. She has spoken in favour of al-Qaida in the past and was investigated in Canada more than a decade ago for helping the terrorist network, but was never charged.

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The rules of Khadr’s bail allow him to meet with her but only in the presence of his bail supervisor or one of his lawyers.

Whitling said it’s preposterous Khadr could speak to his sister and develop any extremist views.

 

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Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister.
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister.
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Omar Khadr and his lawyer Nathan Whitling walk into court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister.
Omar Khadr and his lawyer Nathan Whitling walk into court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister.
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister.
Omar Khadr speaks outside court in Edmonton on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Khadr is seeking a Canadian passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and wants permission to speak to his sister. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Khadr also needs permission to travel outside Alberta, and has made several trips to Toronto to visit his family and to deal with a civil lawsuit there seeking to enforce a multimillion-dollar judgment against him in Utah in favour of Speer’s widow.

Both provincial and federal Crown prosecutors argued the conditions are appropriate considering Khadr pleaded guilty to serious crimes and “he stands convicted.”

Doreen Mueller, a lawyer for the province, argued Khadr is not prevented from talking to his sister.

WATCH BELOW: Omar Khadr will have to wait a week to find out if his bail conditions will be eased. As Fletcher Kent explains, Khadr wants to travel and speak privately with his sister while he waits for an appeal of his U.S. war crimes conviction.

Omar Khadr speaks out after Edmonton judge reserves decision on bail conditions
Omar Khadr speaks out after Edmonton judge reserves decision on bail conditions

Federal prosecutor Bruce Hughson added that Khadr can speak to his sister as long as someone else is in the room, which could be his wife if that’s approved by a supervisor.

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Whitling also asked the judge for an order that would allow Khadr to apply for parole even though he’s not serving a sentence _ an unusual move that would put an end on Khadr’s conditions.

Ross reserved her decision until Dec. 21.

“There’s enough unprecedented aspects to this application that I’m going to take some time to think about it,” she said.

Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage of Omar Khadr

Khadr’s case has ignited sharp and divisive debate since the summer of 2017 when it was revealed the federal government had settled a lawsuit filed by him for a reported $10.5 million. The payout followed a 2010 ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court that Khadr’s charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and Canadian officials contributed to that violation.

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he hopes the court doesn’t grant Khadr’s request.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea that someone who has this track record has more access to members of his family who continue to speak out celebrating acts of terrorism, glorifying acts of violence,” he said in Ottawa. “I think that’s just despicable.”