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Blog Posted in avatar   Ken Hanly's Blog

Harper seems to be stalling on repatriating Omar Khadr

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By Ken Hanly
Posted Jul 8, 2012 in Politics
The Khadr family have long been associated with Al Qaeda and the Canadian family are far from popular in Canada. Unlike other countries the Canadian government has done nothing to have Omar Khadr repatriated from Guantanamo. They sat back and let someone who was a child soldier when captured by the U.S. in 20002 in a firefight in Afghanistan stay in Guantanamo for a decade now. In fact the Canadian government said nothing about his treatment that included what amounted to torture nor the fact that he was tried by a military tribunal.
Although he and his comrades were under attack Khadr was charged with throwing a grenade and killing an American soldier, The U.S. justifies holding Khadr and others indefinitely because there is a state of active hostilities between the U.S. and terrorist linked groups. Of course Obama does not call this the war on terror as Bush did but the legal justification is the same. Usually in such armed conflicts fighters on both sides would not be charged when in battle if they kill people on the other side. However in the legal mumbo jumbo used by the U.S. people like Khadr who fight without uniforms and not as part of a recognized force are unprivileged belligerents and if they kill their enemies even if they are soldiers can be charged with murder. This is what happened to Khadr. Theoretically CIA drone operatives are in the same legal position. This has been pointed out as a problem by lawyers. Of course the difference is that CIA operatives are not likely to be caught and tried!
To add insult to injury he was also a child soldier at the time. In fact he was badly wounded and would have been finished off as was a comrade who may have thrown the grenade except that an officer thought that Khadr might have useful information.
Usually Canada does what the U.S. wants. This was the case with Abdullah Rahman who was arrested at the request of the U.S. when he returned to Canada. From this site:""Abdullah Khadr (born 1981), a son who returned to Canada in 2005, was arrested on behalf of the United States and held for 5 years while an extradition request was reviewed. Ontario Superior Court ordered him released in 2010 citing "shocking and unjustifiable" human rights violations." One son Abdurahman Khadr no doubt regarded by the family as their black sheep worked for the CIA and gave numerous interviews with the press.
Omar Khadr has been held at Guantanamo for almost ten years now. The U.S. has agreed to have him serve the rest of his sentence in Canada. An article here gives six reasons why he should be transferred to Canada. I will deal only with two.
Since Khadr is a Canadian citizen he has the right to enter and remain in Canada. A Federal Court cited this right in another prison transfer case. The U.S. is waiting for Canada to consent. In this case the U.S. is not the holdup it is the Canadian Harper government.
Secondly Khadr committed the alleged offenses when he was still a child and was 15 when captured. Both Canada and the U.S. have signed the Optional UN Protocol on the rights of the child that set 18 as the age for participation in hostilities. Child soldiers are to be psychologically and physically rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. Of course neither the U.S. nor Canada has paid the slightest attention to this aspect of the case. Perhaps one reason Harper does not want him here is that there will be demands that he be treated as a child soldier. This could be politically inconvenient for Harper.

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