Amnesty group to discuss Khadr

Talk by Omar Khadr’s lawyer moves local to bring message to Vernon

When local performer Christine Pilgrim attended a talk given by Omar Khadr’s lawyer, she was moved to approach the Vernon branch of Amnesty International.

She recently attended the talk given by international lawyer Dennis Edney at Simon Fraser University.

“For almost 11 years, pro bono, Edney has represented Canadian born Omar Khadr who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay at age 15 in 2002,” said Pilgrim. “Khadr is currently in a maximum security institution in Edmonton. He is 27.”

The talk prompted Pilgrim to approach the local branch of Amnesty International to ask if she could relate what Edney had said, and head a letter-writing campaign urging the Canadian government to investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment in Guantanamo and Bagram prisons and to recognize that as a child soldier Khadr’s human rights were abused.

“Amnesty members deemed the case so important that they suggested they present the story at a downtown venue and extend an invitation to the general public to attend.,” said Pilgrim.

On Jan. 28 at 6.30 p.m., in the upstairs lounge at the Bean Scene, Pilgrim will discuss the human rights violations allegedly endured by Khadr and invite those who also believe in the power of the pen to address letters on his behalf.

“Dennis Edney ended his moving talk about Omar Khadr’s situation by saying, ‘The only crime worse than willful inhumanity is the crime of indifference, of silence, of forgetting.’”

Admission to the talk is free and open to everyone, from youth to senior. For more information, e-mail info@amnestyvernon.ca or call 250-542 4152.