The Khadr family: A timeline
Omar Khadr’s trial began on Tuesday at Guatanamo Bay. Mr. Khadr, 23, is facing five war crimes charges, including one in the murder of Special Forces Sergeant First Class Chris Speer, who died in a grenade attack when Mr. Khadr was 15.
Below is a Khadr family timeline.
Egypt-born Ahmed Said Khadr migrates to Canada and studies computer science at the University of Ottawa. He meets and marries Maha Elsamnah.
Ahmad Said Khadr moves to Peshawar, Pakistan during the Soviet War in Afghanistan, ostensibly to do humanitarian work. He first meets Osama bin Laden as they both run money into Afghanistan to support the battle against the Soviets.
Omar Khadr is born in Scarborough, Ont.
Omar lives with his family in Pakistan, where his father works for an aid organization financed partly by the Canadian International Development Agency. In 1992, his father returns to Toronto after his leg is injured in an explosion, but goes back to Pakistan as soon as he is healed.
Ahmed Said Khadr is arrested for his alleged role in the bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, but he is set free after Jean Chrétien raises the arrest with Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The Khadrs return to Canada, but patriarch Ahmed Khadr forms his own humanitarian relief group and goes back to Pakistan. The family moves to Jalalabad, under Taliban control, and lives in Osama bin Laden’s compound.
The Khadr brothers begin attending weapons training camps affiliated with the Taliban and bin Laden. The family makes annual trips to Canada to raise money and collect supplies, some of which end up at training camps.
The family moves to Kabul.
Ahmed Said Khadr is named on a list of terrorists wanted by the FBI in connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The U.S.-backed Northern Alliance rebels chase the Taliban out of Kabul. Omar Khadr flees to his father’s orphanage in Logar.
After training on AK-47s, Soviet PKs and rocket-propelled grenades, Omar Khadr, 14, works as a translator for al-Qaeda and conducts a surveillance mission, spying on U.S. military convoys at an airbase in Khost.
July 20, 2002
Omar Khadr allegedly plants 10 land mines in the mountains between Gardez and Khost. They are intended to strike U.S. military targets.
July 27, 2002
U.S. troops surround an Afghanistan compound but are met with heavy gunfire. Two Afghan government soldiers are killed and several U.S. troops sustain injuries. Warplanes blast the compound until the gunfire subsides. U.S. troops enter the compound and find Omar Khadr, who allegedly hurls a grenade at a medic and kills him. U.S. forces open fire and Omar is shot three times. He loses the sight in one eye. He is taken to Bagram Air Base.
The U.S. sends Mr. Khadr to Guantanamo Bay.
CSIS investigators interview Mr. Khadr at Guantanamo.
November 30, 2003
Abdurahman Khadr, Mr. Khadr’s brother, returns to Toronto after being released from Guantanamo Bay in July. The family says he spent months overseas trying to return to Canada.
confirms the death of Ahmed Said Khadr during a gun battle with Pakistani security officers, revealing him as a “high-profle” member of al-Qaeda who acted as a deputy to Osama bin Laden.
Omar Khadr’s grandmother, Fatmah Elsamnah, files a $100,000 lawsuit against the Department of Foreign Affairs, alleging the government failed to protect her grandson’s rights as a Canadian.
April 14, 2004
Ontario says it will “assume its responsibility” by offering health care to two members of the Khadr family, Maha Elsamnah Khadr and her 14-year-old son Karim, who recently land in Toronto. Karim was paralyzed in the gun battle with Pakistani security officers in which his father was killed.
Fatmah Elsamnah files a lawsuit against George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld demanding Mr. Khadr’s immediate release from Guantanamo, damages for abuse and denies the youth was involved with al-Qaeda.
A U.S. military tribunal decides to keep Mr. Khadr in custody at Guantanamo Bay, after documents saying he admitted to being a trained al-Qaeda terrorist and to killing an American soldier are released.
January 10, 2005
Abdurahman Khadr, Omar Khadr’s older brother, sells his family’s story to a Hollywood movie company for a deal that could reach US$500,000 if the movie makes it to theatres.
August 10, 2005
A Federal Court judge says Canadian agencies, including CSIS, are violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by interviewing Omar Khadr and turning the information over to U.S. investigators.
November 7, 2005
The U.S. military charge Omar Khadr, held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy in connection to a 2002 Afghanistan firefight that killed a U.S. soldier.
December 17, 2005
Omar’s eldest brother, Abdullah Khadr, is arrested in Scarborough, Ont., for allegedly acting as an al-Qaeda gunrunner and supplying material to make land mines. He had returned to Canada earlier that month after spending a year in a Pakistani prison.
A U.S. civil court orders the Khadr family to pay $102-million to the widow of an American soldier and a second soldier injured in the 2002 attack linked to Omar Khadr.
Older brother Abdurahman Khadr, described as the “black sheep” of the Khadr family for distancing himself from his past, is refused a Canadian passport renewal.
June 4, 2007
A U.S. military judge throws out the case against Omar Khadr because he is labeled an “enemy combatant,” instead of an “unlawful enemy combatant.” A U.S. military appeals court later overturns the decision and reinstates the charges.
March 17, 2008
Mr. Khadr alleges that he was threatened with rape and violence during attempts by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to force confessions.
May 23, 2008
The Supreme Court of Canada concludes that Canadian officials participated in an “illegal” process when they shared information about Omar Khadr with the United States. The court ordered the federal government to surrender to Mr. Khadr’s legal team the secret files that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Foreign Affairs compiled on him when they interrogated him at Guantanamo Bay.
May 29, 2008
The Pentagon abruptly replaces the military judge presiding over the Omar Khadr case. Mr. Khadr’s lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr Bill Kuebler, says he believes the judge was replaced for threatening to suspend the case because the prosecution failed to hand over Mr. Khadr’s Guantanamo confinement records to the defence.
June 2, 2008
Guards at Guantanamo Bay describe Mr. Khadr as salvageable, non-radicalized and a “good kid,” according to visiting Canadian officials.
June 17, 2008
The Harper government said it resisted repatriating Mr. Khadr over fears he would have no choice but to reconnect with his family, described as “terrorist sympathizers.”
June 24, 2008
Declassified sections of the Canadian-born terror suspect’s affidavit reveal he was promised freedom if he said anything that led to the capture of “someone big.” The affidavit also included accusations that his U.S. captors threatened to torture him and interrogated him while he was forced into painful positions.
July 15, 2008
Omar Khadr’s defence counsel releases more than seven hours of video of the boy being interrogated by Canadian spy agents while in Guantanamo Bay in 2003.
August 8, 2008
Omar Khadr’s legal team sues Stephen Harper in Federal Court. Saying the government was ignoring its obligation to help rehabilitate and reintegrate children illegally used in armed conflict, the lawsuit also says Mr. Khadr suffered torture in Gitmo, something that “shocks the conscience of the Canadian public.”
August 20, 2008
Abdullah Khadr, Omar’s older brother, is denied bail after an Ontario Superior Court judge rules the 27-year-old still poses a risk to the public and should not be released from custody. He remains wanted on charges he transported weapons for al-Qaeda to be used against forces in Afghanistan in 2003.
Barack Obama is elected U.S. president, and subsequently promises to shut down Guantanamo Bay. The Harper government’s position remains unchanged: “Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges. He is being held and it’s our government’s intention to follow and respect the process that’s in place and, of course, to respect American sovereignty on this issue,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said.
FBI special agent Robert Fuller testifies that a 15-year-old Omar Khadr identified Canadian Maher Arar as someone he had seen in an al-Qaeda “safe house.” But Mr. Fuller later says Mr. Khadr took a lot of time to identify Mr. Arar and only said he “might have seen him.”
Maher Arar was completely cleared of terrorist links by a judicial inquiry in 2006.
Mr. Khadr’s laywer says the revelation supports the defence’s claim that U.S. authorities have forced Mr. Khadr into making untrue statements.
January 22, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order suspending all Guantanamo Bay war crime trials, including that of Omar Khadr, pending a review of what to do with the detention centre’s prisoners.
April 3, 2009
The U.S. military fires Omar Khadr’s defence laywer, Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler.
April 23, 2009
Federal Court Justice James O’Reilly rules in favour of Omar Khadr, saying the federal government has violated his Charter rights by refusing to demand his release. He writes: “Clearly Canada was obliged to recognize that Mr. Khadr, being a child, was vulnerable to being caught up in armed conflict as a result of his personal and social circumstances in 2002 and before.”
The government appeals the Federal Court ruling ordering Mr. Khadr’s repatriation, arguing it went above and beyond its duty in trying to help him.
The repatriation order is put on hold pending the appeal outcome.
August 14, 2009
The Federal Court of Appeal upholds the ruling ordering the government to repatriate Omar Khadr.
August 25, 2009
The federal government files an appeal to the Supreme Court over the latest ruling ordering Mr. Khadr’s repatriation.
September 4, 2009
The Supreme Court says it will hear the government appeal to Mr. Khadr’s repatriation on Nov. 13.
Abdullah Khadr denies involvement in terrorist activities during his extradition hearing.
November 13, 2009
U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder says Omar Khadr will be prosecuted in front of a military commission, most likely to take place on the U.S. mainland.
January 22, 2010
The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously refrains from ordering the government to seek Omar Khadr’s repatriation, but declares that federal actions have violated his constitutional rights and says the government should rectify the wrongs committed against him.
February 3, 2010
Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon say the federal government will not seek Omar Khadr’s repatriation. “There’s no shift in Canadian policy on this,” Mr. Soudas tells reporters. “Their ruling said we get to decide and we’re saying that Mr. Khadr faces serious charges on a wide range of things…. It’s under the American administration’s purview right now to pursue with the court case.”
February 15, 2010
The federal government sends a diplomatic note to the United States, asking that the information from Omar Khadr’s interviews with Canadian authorities not be used against him because the Supreme Court of Canada found Mr. Khadr’s Charter rights had been violated.
April 28, 2010
Omar Khadr’s pretrial proceedings begin in Guatanamo Bay.
June 14, 2010
Abdulkareem Ahmed Khadr, known as Karim and Omar Khadr’s younger brother, is arrested and charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation in Toronto. Karim was paralyzed from the waist down after he took a bullet to the spine at age 14 on the Afghanistan border in 2003. His father Amhed was killed during the shootout with Pakistani security forces.
July 5, 2010
The Federal Court gives the government seven days to remedy the violations of Omar Khadr’s constitutional rights.
July 7, 2010
Omar Khadr fires his three U.S. lawyers, both civilian and military.
July 12, 2010
Omar Khadr tells U.S. military judge Col. Patrick Parrish that he will boycott his tribunal, calling the commission a “sham.”
Col. Parrish refuses to let Mr. Khadr fire his military lawyer, Lt.-Col. Jon Jackson.
On the same day, the federal government says it will appeal the Federal Court order to provide a list of remedies to address the breach of Mr. Khadr’s constitutional rights.
August 4. 2010
Abdullah Khadr is released from prison after an Ontario court rules against extraditing him to the U.S. on terrorism charges.
August 9, 2010
The judge presiding over Omar Khadr’s trial rules to allow evidence the defence had said was the product of torture as admissible. The evidence includes a video allegedly showing Mr. Khadr making and planting land mines.
Through his lawyer, Mr. Khadr pleads not-guilty to the five war crimes charges he faces.
August 10, 2010
Omar Khadr’s pretrial proceedings, including jury selection, begin.
August 12, 2010
Omar Khadr’s trial begins.
August 14, 2010:
Omar Khadr’s trial is delayed one week.
August 21, 2010:
Judge rules that there is no evidence that Khadr’s confession was obtained through torture.
October 15, 2010:
Khadr agrees to plead guilty to all war crimes charges. Discussion circulates about a deal where Khadr will serve an eight year sentence, seven of which could be spent in Canada. Ahmed Khadr is also accused of trying to
kill an aid worker, advising al-Qaeda leaders and abusing charities.
October 16, 2010:
Mohamed Fadil breaks his silence and backs up claims that Ahmed Khadr was involved with al-Qaeda and was an influential advisor to Osama bin Laden.
October 25, 2010:
Omar Khadr admits to throwing the grenade that killed the U.S. medic and pleads guilty to five war crimes charges in exchange for a deal with the Pentagon of an eight year sentence and a possibility of coming back to Canada in one year.
Courtesy of The National Post.