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Lawyer Dennis Edney after the release on bail of his client Omar Khadr, May 7, 2015

Radio-Canada

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Attorney Dennis Edney died Dec. 30 at the age of 77, his family announced. He spent the last years of his career defending Omar Khadr, a young Canadian accused of terrorism in Afghanistan and imprisoned at Guantanamo for more than a decade.

His legal practice reflected his passion for justice and his indomitable spirit, we read in the obituary. Tragically, dementia took the life of this exceptional man.

In the 2000s, Dennis Edney began defending pro bonoOmar Khadr, then incarcerated in the American military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba. Omar Khadr was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002, at the age of 15, and accused of killing an American soldier.

The fight Mr. Khadr's court appearance spanned more than a decade. Dennis Edney argued for him three times before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Over the years, he has won three consecutive victories before the highest court in the country, at the end of which the Court notably recognized that his fundamental rights had been violated.

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Omar Khadr was finally released on bail in 2015. Dennis Edney welcomed him into his home , with his wife Patricia, for the first months of his life in freedom. In an interview with 24•60 in 2016, the lawyer affirmed that he and his wife had become parents, friends, supervisors for Omar Khadr.

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Omar Khadr (right) with his lawyer Dennis Edney (Archive photo)

According to Alex Neve, who led the English-speaking counterpart of Amnesty International Canada during the Khadr affair, Dennis was a fighter, ready to fight for rights and justice. He salutes his courage and perseverance.

He decided to represent Omar Khadr very early on, when there was no a lot of sympathy for his case, he recalls.

Alex Neve also emphasizes that Omar Khadr's situation served to remind the general public and the justice system that human rights were applicable in all circumstances.

Dennis Edney worked on Omar Khadr's case with lawyer Nathan Whitling, who has since become a judge at the Court of King's Bench of Alberta. In writing, he says Dennis was a great lawyer and friend. In all my years of legal career, I have never met a lawyer more dedicated to his clients.

The organization Lawyers Without Borders also salutes his tenacity. The organization's legal counsel, Moussa Bienvenu Haba, says this saga has left an indelible impact in Canada on the way we do things. And we owe it to Me Dennis Edney.

For him, the key element to remember from the Omar Kadhr affair is that we must ensure that, if people are tried, their rights are respected.

In an interview on the show Second regard in 2016, he admitted, faced with the scale of procedures, having considered over the years the idea of ​​stopping defending Omar Khadr.

Of course I wanted to give up [ …] but sometimes you face something so unfair that you can't give up, he confided.

He was also already thinking about its impact on the state of human rights in Canada. I hope that when the time comes to leave, I will have contributed to making society a better place, he said at the time.

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