Friday, August 14, 2009

Khadr - one step closer to coming home

IN yet another blow to the federal government, a federal court has ordered Ottawa to repatriate Omar Khadr from Gitmo hell.

In his 43-page decision, O'Reilly wrote that the federal government's ongoing refusal to request his repatriation to Canada "offends a principle of fundamental justice and violates Mr. Khadr's rights.

"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 judge wrote.

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

Documents show Khadr's U.S. captors threatened him with rape, kept him isolated and deprived him of sleep. In 2003, Canadian Security Intelligence Service officers travelled to Guantanamo to question Khadr and shared the results of their interrogations with the Americans.

The watchdog over CSIS recently found the spy agency ignored concerns about human rights and Khadr's young age in deciding to interview him.

Khadr's situation parallels that of another child soldier allegedly tortured while being jailed at Gitmo as well. Recently (at least ordered to be) released Mohammed Jawad (who is said to have been 12 when he was detained) is just another example of the US ignoring the convention on the rights of child soldiers.

The fact that our governments have to be forced by the courts to release these detainees shows how much of a mockery any claims to protecting human rights of children made by successive Liberal, Conservative, Democrat and Republican parties have been.

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