Time to do the Right Thing – The Case of Omar Khadr

 Where Canada is considered a country of progressive, fair minded, just people, our government is denying Mr. Omar Khadr his basic, fundamental rights which have been affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. All western nations have repatriated their Guantanamo detainees, yet we are allowing him to be treated differently and are not entitling him to the same judicial rights of others.

Four court decisions have supported Omar Khadr’s repatriation, but obviously our Conservative lead government refuses to heed what Canada’s highest court has ruled. Rather than repatriating Mr. Khadr to Canada; as all other Western states have done, the Canadian government has decided to appeal the decision of the court which certainly will not occur before Mr. Khadr’s trial, set to begin on August 10th.

It is not only unjust, it just gives more credence to the prevailing belief that our government operates above the law.

Beginning with Mr. Khadr’s interrogation accompanied by denial of legal counsel, held under the conditions of sleep deprivation all which “offend the most basic standards” as ruled by the Court ruling, to the eight years he has been held without trial, the Canadian government has acted against what Canada stands for and in contradiction to international law and the rulings of the Supreme Court.

In addition to the torture Mr. Khadr was subjected to, Mr.Khadr was child at the time of his capture and under international law, a trial of a child soldier is prohibited. The issue of most importance is not Khadr’s guilt or innocence, it is the obligation the Canadian government has to its citizens. The Canadian government is refusing to meet its obligations and has essentially turned its back on its own citizen.

It is a poor reflection upon a government that refuses to act in accordance to their own Supreme Court decisions and International law. It seems that we no longer practice high standards of justice, but rather turn our back on a Canadian citizen who at the time of imprisonment was a child.

It is time for the Canadian government to do the right thing, withdraw its appeal filed in response to the most recent Court verdict and demand that Mr. Khadr be brought home. It is the just, honorable thing to do.

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