4.23.2009

"it's a tremendous embarrassment, what we’ve done to this young man"

The Federal Court has ruled that the Harper Government must seek the repatriation of Omar Khadr.

Harper - unbelievably, but for him, completely believably - will seek to overturn the decision.

This government doesn't give a crap about human rights. Especially if Muslims are involved. From CBC:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is required to press the United States for the return of Omar Khadr to Canada from Guantanamo Bay to "comply with a principle of fundamental justice," a Federal Court judge ruled Thursday.

Unmoved, Harper said the government may try to overturn the judge's decision on Khadr, who is accused of killing a U.S. army soldier with a hand grenade during a gunfight in Afghanistan in 2002.

"The facts, in our judgment, have not changed," he told MPs during question period. "We will be looking at the decision very carefully and, obviously, considering an appeal."

Justice James O'Reilly ruled in favour of Khadr's charter challenge of the Canadian government's decision not to request his repatriation from the U.S. detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The ongoing refusal of Canada to request Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada offends a principle of fundamental justice and violates Mr. Khadr's rights," O'Reilly said in his 43-page decision.

"To mitigate the effect of that violation, Canada must present a request to the United States for Mr. Khadr's repatriation as soon as practicable."

The CBC’s Rosemary Barton, reporting from Ottawa, said the government has long maintained that because of the seriousness of the charges, the Toronto-born Khadr should face military proceedings in the United States.

In Thursday's decision, the judge pointed out that Khadr is the last citizen of any Western country held at Guantanamo. Other countries have repatriated their citizens.

Khadr's lawyers argued the Canadian government was complicit in the detainee's alleged torture and mistreatment while in U.S. custody and obliged under international law to demand his return.

Khadr, now 22, was 15 at the time he was detained in Afghanistan.

Harper has steadfastly refused to get involved.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe have sent a letter to Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama calling for Khadr's repatriation and for any evidence against him to be released to Canadian authorities.

The U.S. and Canadian governments are signatories to a United Nations protocol that states fighters under age 18 are to be considered child soldiers and must be released and helped to reintegrate into society.

Like all Guantanamo prosecutions, Khadr's case is currently on hold pending a review by Obama's administration.

Khadr's U.S. military defence lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, shrugged off Harper's talk of an appeal.

"Omar Khadr is coming back to Canada eventually," he told CBC News. "Appealing this decision only delays the inevitable. It serves no purpose.

"After seven years, or almost seven years, I just can’t imagine that the Canadian government would do anything other than ultimately look at this decision and say, 'Okay, the time has come; let’s do the right thing and bring this young man home.' "

There would be no resistance from Washington, Kuebler predicted.

"It's a tremendous embarrassment, what we’ve done to this young man in terms of detention and interrogation, in terms of fabricating evidence and false allegations against him, and I can't imagine that the Obama administration would do anything other than jump at the chance to send this young man home if the Canadian government followed this decision and asked for his return."

8 comments:

redsock said...

And this story gets posted here right above the Kenney quote:

"We're not going to contort ... laws to suit some people's political agenda."

Man, I've fuckin' seen this movie already. I walked out.

JakeNCC said...

The longer Harper is in power the more the country gets to see his true Reform roots. It continues to baffle how this country elected even with slim minorities a government this right wing. The Progressive Conservatives of the past were actually decent people. They were a bit to the right but they were no way as extreme as the present tories/alliance/reformers. I have faith though that Harper's days are numbered and some are predicting a split in his party after he exits.

L-girl said...

"Man, I've fuckin' seen this movie already. I walked out."

And came here!! :)

Jake, it's clear his days are numbered, I agree. He's tried three times to win a majority and has not succeeded, even when he called the friggin election himself.

There's clearly an ideological rift in the party, but I don't know if they'll actually allow it to split back into two separate parties, and kiss goodbye any chance of forming a government. It seems highly unlikely. But I'd love to be wrong.

L-girl said...

"Man, I've fuckin' seen this movie already. I walked out."

New t-shirt?

Been there, done that, moved to Canada

JakeNCC said...

Last night I saw an interview with Peter Van Loan on CPAC concerning the border. I couldnt help but be embarassed that this is the face the Americans see when they sit across the table to discuss border and security issues. No wonder they have worries about us. This man is inarticulate, unintelligent and unable to coherently defend this country. I think one of the most overlooked part of the Harper government is the weakness of his cabinet. Such a shame to see who represents us around the world.

Cornelia said...

Jake, do you mean that Van Loan guy has been doing such a bad job that the fantasies and fears of some people south work overdrive? Did I get this aright?

Scott M. said...

Van Loan is a jackass.

I hope that a Liberal Government would appeal it as well. Despite the fact that I disagree with the Conservatives on this, I think the government should always bring questions of prerogative to the highest court to clarify.

The right thing to do in this case would be to ask the US to return Khadr, and simultaneously appeal the decision so that executive responsibility and prerogative is clear for the future.

L-girl said...

Scott M, I know what you mean, but in this case - with this government - I think it's a meaningless distinction. Their appeal is only an attempt to place themselves above the law. They have to be forced to do the right thing, and whatever leverage we have to make that happen, we should use it.