At his trial last week, there were a number of events that could have been taken into account:
- Omar is blind in one eye due to shrapnel from the Delta Force bombing of the compound where Omar was staying.
- During a decade in Guantanamo, he did not receive any medical care to prevent total loss of vision; most of those years, Omar was in solitary confinement and exposed to 24 hours of fluorescent lighting. For years he was denied sunglasses for “state security” reasons.
- Under a polo shirt were wounds where two chunks of his chest and shoulder were blown out when he was shot in the back at point blank by a Delta Force soldier.
- While the wounds were still raw, he was hooded, wrists shackled to the ceiling and made to stand for hours.
- Omar has spent most of the past 11 years in solitary confinement, deprived of all human contact in a window-less cell, food thrust through a slot in the door. For most of a decade he was shackled to the floor of his cell and five times a week led in handcuffs and leg irons to a small chain-link cage for 20 minutes of solitary exercise.
- Omar was the only Guantanamo inmate to be totally abandoned by his own country. Last spring, Vic Toews (at the time Minister of Public Safety) denied access to a Canadian Press prison interview with Omar as a “public safety threat.”
- Dennis Edney has represented Omar on a pro bono basis for the past decade. “Guantanamo changed me. I went in a lawyer and came out a broken father.” Omar will apparently be welcome to join the Edney family in their Edmonton home if and when freed.
- Omar was never tried in a regularly-constituted court. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled U.S. Pentagon military commissions unconstitutional. Evidence points to Omar’s innocence.
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