source: Edmonton Journal
published: 7 June 2014
When Archbishop Desmond Tutu came to Fort McMurray last weekend, Alberta’s oilsands and native rights were his major concern. But in the days before the conference, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist added a small personal task to his busy schedule.
After a press conference on Friday May 30, Tutu found a quiet corner and placed a phone call to Bowden prison where Omar Khadr, 27, held in Guantanamo prison for 10 years, was waiting.
Tutu has been a vocal critic of the U.S. military Guantánamo prison in Cuba, a place of torture where prisoners have no legal rights. It was established after the horrifying 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The prison, Tutu has said, has disturbing similarities to draconian powers wielded by white police under apartheid when blacks were held without charges, were abused and some died in prison in South Africa.
So when approached about speaking with Khadr, he was sympathetic. Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney of Edmonton, was keen to have his client talk to Tutu.
They are both men of faith, and the older Tutu could provide moral support to the young man who has been in prison since he was 15 when he was picked up in Afghanistan after a battle with U.S. soldiers, Edney said.