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Canada should act on Omar Khadr and request he be sent home.

From the Globe and Mail:

Charges against Omar Khadr were dismissed Monday by a military judge who ruled that his tribunal had no jurisdiction to try the alleged terrorist because the government had failed to designate him an ‘unlawful enemy combatant.’ “Charges are dismissed without prejudice,” Colonel Peter Brownback ruled.

What happened exactly? CBC answers that

Under the Military Commissions Act that was revised and passed by the U.S. Congress in October 2006, military commissions only have jurisdiction to try “unlawful enemy combatants.” However, Khadr was classified by a military panel in 2004 as only an “enemy combatant” — which is what led the judge to dismiss the charges on Monday. CBC News’s Bill Gillespie, reporting from Guantanamo, said Khadr’s classification as an enemy combatant means he was fighting on the battlefield, but not necessarily acting unlawfully.

As far as I’m concerned, Canada’s government should be demanding he be sent home.    If there is evidence still that indicts him, and the government here wants to still file charges, let it be done in a Canadian court. If they don’t, then under Habeas Corpus – something Canada still has, even if the US has crippled it –  he should be released. I know his family doesn’t have a very good reputation amongst Canadians, but Khadr is a Canadian citizen and he deserves due process as anyone else does.


9 comments to Canada should act on Omar Khadr and request he be sent home.

  • Oh.. I didnt say Khadr was out of the woods. George Bush has shown he is more then capable of trying to get around the US Constitution (which he is rumoured to have said "is only a piece of paper") and withhold rights extended to people for 800 years… and I fully expect him to try here as well.

    And, I don't think it's BAD at all Warbicycle. Guantanamo Bay is as far as I'm concerned illegal under US and International Law (and if it isn't, its morally repugnant). I don't care if Khadr is guilty, to be honest. If he is, he deserves to be tried as a Canadian citizen in a Canadian court of law with the rights guaranteed to all Canadian citizens. If he’s guilty, he’s guilty… but it was done under the rule of law.

    It's telling that even the military judges of this kangaroo court setup by Bush to get around the Supreme Court Ruling down there felt bound by the law to dismiss charges. They have more honesty and integrity then Bush and his crony Gonzales do.

    What's worse – the Pentagon wants to appeal it.. but I read on Daily Kos that the US government doesn't even have an appeal court set up for its commissions!

  • WarBicycle

    The case was not simply dismissed, it was dismissed without prejudice, this means the prosecutors will be able to bring forth new charges. Not nearly as bad as our left leaning media wants us to believe.

  • KC

    Scott – As a Canadian citizen by law he is entitled to all of the legal protections and legal entitlements of anyone else.  But I challenge you to point to the statute that<i> requires</i> that the government make representations on behalf of Canadians citizens.  Find that statute and I will cede the legal argument.  But there is difference IMHO between people who are legally citizens of this country, and people who I and other Canadians feel an ethical obligation towards as citizens.   To me citizenship means more than falling under the legal definition of the Citizenship Act.  Khadr may fall within the legal definition but my conception of 'citizenship' does not include someone with such loose connection to this country.   As such I do not expect my government to do anymore on his behalf than they are legally required to.   And frankly the sanctimonious bleating of Mssrs. Ignatieff and Neve do not convince me otherwise.  Personally I would like to see the Citizenship Act amended to exclude 'citizens of convenience' like Mr. Khadr, but for the time being I expect the government to abide by the law and nothing more.  As I've said I think that Canada should stand up for people whose rights are being infringed anywhere by virtue of being humans.   But arguments that our government is obliged to extend special privileges not required by law to citizens of convenience like Mr. Khadr not extended to other sufferers of human rights abuses fall on deaf ears.   Omar Khadr is not Maher Arar.  Mr. Arar's citizenship has never been questioned in any sense, and I feel an ethical obligation to go above and beyond to help him.   Mr. Khadr's citizenship, while legally unquestionable, most certainly is in doubt in its philosophical sense. 

  • jeremy bourreau

    perhaps he is canadian, but it seems to be more citizenship of convenience. that being said, it would be right for our government to condemn guantanamo, but i don't think khadr is our responsibility.

  • I expect our government to be as vigorous in getting Khadr back here as they were for Maher Arar.

    Um, hopefully more vigorous than that. Arar languished for a long time while Monia Mazigh fought for him and successive governments did very little until public opinion was overwhelming.

  • Your statements Kyle can be answered by 2 people – first, Michael Ignatieff:

    Deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said the government should actively take up his case, which he said appears to be in “legal limbo”. “Whatever we may think about Mr. Khadr and his past, he is a Canadian citizen with the rights of a Canadian citizen and the Government should take up his case actively with U.S. authorities,” Mr. Ignatieff said on Monday afternoon.

    And, Amnesty International:

    Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, said the Canadian government should act swiftly, and demand the U.S. return Khadr to Canada. Neve said Khadr could be tried under the Canadian court system, provided there was appropriate evidence to justify charges. “It’s certainly vital that the Canadian government intervene forcefully now,” he told CBC News. “It’s been a very dismal reaction to date from the Canadian government on this case”. Neve also pointed out that Ottawa can no longer justify inaction by arguing that the case is before a U.S. court and can’t be meddled with. “They should be intervening directly with U.S. officials because it is now back in the hands of the U.S. government to decide what to do with this case,”

    In brief, Kyle.. I expect our government to be as vigorous in getting Khadr back here as they were for Maher Ahar. I’m not asking for privileges for him – if they want to charge him, do so here.. where he’ll get a fair trial. I’m asking the government stand up for him as a Canadian citizen, as they would for any other citizen of Canada.

  • KC

    I would prefer to see Canada condemn denial of habeas corpus generally in the world and specifically with respect to all Guantanamo Bay detainees.  But frankly I don't see why Omar Khadr deserves to have any special representations on the part of Ottawa not accorded to other non-Canadian detainees merely because he has opted to hang out his flag of Canadian citizenship.  The law may say that the rest of his family is entitled to Canadian social services, and until that law is changed (which I think it should be) it must be complied with.  But I know of no law that requires that our government lobby on Mr. Khadr's behalf (if you do I'd like to see it and that might change things), and given the length of his absence and lack of any real connection to this country I dont see why he should be extended any privileges that the law does not require.  I'm not saying that habeas corpus should not be respected, or that denials thereof should not be condemened, or that people with extensive international travels and employment should be lightly or summarily stripped of their citizenship.  I am just saying that I don't think Omar Khadr should be extended any special privileges not required by law, and not extended to others when his connections to this country are invoked only to serve his interests.

  • […] Scott Tribe quite some time ago called for his release. (There were earlier posts, too, I think.) […]

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