On Khadr: Harper government fights to keep accused in Gitmo

In the wake of the news yesterday that the federal government will ask the Supreme Court to overturn a Federal Court of Appeal decision ordering it to see Omar Khadr's repatriation. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, has been held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than one-third of his life, and is the last citizen of a Western democracy to be held there. Here's a statement from the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannnon:

Supreme Court Appeal:

The Government of Canada has consistently stated that Omar Khadr faces serious charges. After careful consideration of the legal merits of the ruling from the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal, the Government has decided to seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. As the matter is currently under litigation, we will provide no further comment at this time. The Government of Canada has filed a motion for stay pending appeal.

Canada's Position:

Our position regarding Mr. Khadr remains unchanged. In fact, it is the same policy held by two previous governments. Omar Khadr has been accused of serious crimes (including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism and spying, all in violation of the laws of war).

President Obama has not communicated any decision to the Government of Canada with respect to the case of Mr. Khadr. As you know the Obama administration has recently taken decisions to proceed with the closure of Guantanamo, halt the judiciary process and also to evaluate each of the cases. It is in our interest to wait for the outcome of these decisions just put forward by President Obama. The Government of Canada has taken its responsibilities with regards to Mr. Khadr, and we will also take our responsibilities when the US Government shares its decision on this case.

We continue to closely monitor the situation, including the work of the American committee formed to study the fate of Guantanamo detainees, including Mr. Khadr. Departmental officials have carried out several welfare visits with Mr. Khadr and will continue to do so. We will not speculate on hypothetical scenarios.

3 thoughts on “On Khadr: Harper government fights to keep accused in Gitmo”

  1. Khadr is accused of killing a U.S. serviceman. He needs to be brought to justice for that act period full stop. The looney left wants him brought back for what reason? So the taxpayers can continue to support him in our prison system. By the way there are no charges against him here in Canada so does that mean he would go free? An accused killer going free! How Canadian!!!!!!!!!!
    The Libs had five years to bring him back but no they elected to keep him right where he is. Now that they are in opposition they want to use Khadr to scrap any political advantage they can get. Liberal hyocrisy knows no bounds. The appeal court decision was split so the government wants to get a ruling from the Supremes. Canadians by and large don't have much sympathy for the Khadr family.

  2. My understanding is that the incident for which Mr. Khadr is being held occurred when Mr. Khadr was 15 (fifteen) years old. That make him a child soldier and victim, rather than a culpable adult. Canada has signed international treaties to this affect.
    Even if this were not the case, Canada should demand that he be brought home to be dealt with under Canadian law – as is the case with EVERY OTHER western democracy that had citizens in Gitmo.
    Shame on Mr. Harper for this failure to stand up for Canadian citizens…again

  3. Actually, Mr. Khadr was two months shy of his 16th birthday. He was born Sept. 19, 1986. He was involved in that particular battle on July 27, 2002. He was NOT a child soldier, as his advocates have been saying.
    “International human rights law
    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 38, (1989) proclaimed: “State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” However, children who are over the age of 15 but still remain under the age of 18 are still voluntarily able to take part in combat as soldiers. The Optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the Convention that came into force in 2002 stipulates that its State Parties “shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons below the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities and that they are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces”. … (Art 6(3) Optional Protocol)
    Under Article 8.2.26 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), adopted in July 1998 and entered into force 1 July 2002; “Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities” is a war crime.” [my bolding]
    What is shameful is the fact Canadians are being manipulated by tugging at their emotional chords by being shown a picture of Omar Khadr when he was a young boy.
    Omar Khadr was not involuntarily recruited to fight.
    Omar Khadr’s parents volunteered his services as a translator to militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
    Canada should not patriate him, because
    • Omar Khadr is accused of committing a crime against a foreign national, NOT a Canadian.
    • The alleged crime was committed on foreign soil, NOT in Canada.
    • Khadr was apprehended by foreign forces, NOT Canadian forces.
    • He was fighting for an opposing foreign force, NOT for Canada.
    • His case will be examined by a system of justice (US) very similar to our own, not by a repressive regime.
    I agree with the government's position to appeal the Federal Court's decision.

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