Saturday, January 30, 2010

Omar Khadr

The Supreme Court of Canada has given the Conservative government a dressing down over the repatriation of Omar Khadr when, in a 9-0 ruling, the court found that Canada and the United States are violating Mr. Khadr’s right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court, however, stopped short of upholding a lower court’s demand that the Stephen Harper government request that the United States release Khadr to Canadian custody.

Not a bad decision in a difficult case, I would say.

The court has avoided a dangerous precedent of interfering with the government’s (executive’s) prerogative of determining and executing Canada’s foreign relations. And that’s a good thing.

By finding unanimously that Canada has violated the man’s Charter rights, one wonders whether the government can ignore the courts and continue to leave Khadr’s fate in the hands of the Americans.

It is generally believed that, if Omar Khadr were to be returned to Canada, he would be released based on time served in the United States. If he remains in American custody, he’ll likely face life in prison.

I am torn on this one.

I detest anyone who would take up arms against Canada, which is effectively what Khadr did when he involved himself in a firefight with the Americans at a time when they fought as our allies in Afghanistan. This is treason in my book. And I don’t believe his age should excuse him from punishment.

I am, however, of the opinion that he has been shoddily treated by his American captors, not because he might have been harshly interrogated, but because he has spent about eight years in prison without anything resembling a fair trial. I don’t believe this is justice.

American serial killers and brutal child molesters receive a timely and fair trial—why shouldn’t Khadr? In his case, what sources of intelligence is there to protect? I see no excuse for such a delay.

Without question, our government needs special powers with which to fight modern terrorism, but to allow a Canadian citizen to languish in any prison for eight years without trial seems beyond the pale. There is a limited amount Canada can do without cooperation from the United States, I get that. But, in my view, Canada has done little but stand back and watch.

And that’s not good enough.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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  1. I blame this whole sham on the U.S. military for not letting that POS bleed out in that compound in Afghanistan.

  2. What rights was he denied that he had a right to?
    He's an enemy combatant that went without a uniform, he has no rights.
    If he is ever brought back here it should be to face charges of treason.

  3. Your torn!!!
    This is black and white.
    He is a treasonous bastard and should be hanged from the highest yardarm. His family should be deported immediately.
    He gave up his rights protected by the Charter by willfully disregarding his responsibility as a citizen.
    Time to pay for his actions.
    I can't believe you are "torn" on this.

  4. I feel that Khadr has been badly served by his US and Canadian lawyers. The trial delay is largely due to endless appeals to the legitimacy of the process. Accepting resonsibility for his actions and admitting there is no magic jail-free strategy, may be in his best interest. Opting for trial and presenting his best defence, extreme youth, parental abuse, could be turned to his advantage. That appears to be what will happen in any case, he might as well get on with it.

  5. How can America violate the Canadian charter, it does not apply there. Just another stupid decision from the Stupid Court of Canada. I agree he should be brought to trial in the US and if found guilty sentenced to death.

  6. We do not know what Canada has done because we are not privy to the workings behind the scenes...they know they cannot interfere in another country's jurisdiction...the crimes were not committed in Canada...the citizenship of this person is highly questionable as his whole family is of the terrorist mindset and lifestyle...why they are still in Canada is beyond me... I agree this is a tough case...nothing we can do about the influences in his life from a young age because we know and can see it would never have been any different...the boy was doomed...sad all around...but this person killed a medic who was approaching to help him...this person participated in terrorist killings, and if we are to believe the photo's ..took the spoils of his escapades and marched proudly down the street with them...(hands and feet of whomever)
    --the liberals sat on this file too..all cannot be laid on the doorstep of this current government..but again I repeat...we do not know what they have to consider in order to deal with this..protocol etc....
    I am not going to criticize the government because I do not have all the facts and in reality I only have the facts as published about the escapades and events of this file too...
    over and out...

  7. Big Red Magnum, you asked, "What rights was he denied that he had a right to?"

    I'll defer to the Supreme Court of Canada which found his rights had been denied.

    He may be despicable, but even he has rights. Or are we now to abandon our democratic principles?

  8. If you worry more about the process and not the end result, there should be no shock when the little shit, freed because of said process, detonates himself in the seat next you on the subway.

  9. So true, Kursk. Let's abandon all the processes. In fact, why not just suspend the rule of law altogether, then we can be nice and safe.

  10. The fact is that terrorists like Omar rub their hands gleefully at the fact that courts rely on testimony, witnesses, forensic evidence, etc etc. You know, all the things that are impossible to gather for terrorist acts committed in foreign countries.

    They know it, and they're happy to spend a decade meditating on the Qu'ran, because they know, they realize that eventually they'll be let go. 10 years older, but still rotten to the core inside. Plenty of time to exact revenge though.

  11. Under what circumstances can a government recind a persons citizenship.
    If a person can pick and choose when they want to be a canadian of convience, and hide behind our laws and constitution, we should be able to tell them, sorry you gave up your rights to citizenship when you chose to support terrorists, or break the law of the country you are calling home for the time being.
    When we deport families because they have a handicapped person, that might cost money in the future, we should be able to save millions by not paying supposed tortured terrorists, or bogus ID claims.

  12. I think the large majority of Canadians are fearful of what he's become, regardless of whether or not they believe he was a victim. There is an uncomfortable boundary where ethics meets reality. Sometimes right is wrong.

  13. Would khdar be a darling of the libdips if Christopher Speers had been a Canadian kid from Halifax or Saskatoon ? You want someone to blame ask chretian why he went to bat for khdars father,an alquida operative who set this in motion.Hang him & chretian too.

  14. Greyburr, your comment, "Hang him & chretian too," suggests a level of ignorance/stupidity that boggles the mind.

  15. maryT,

    If you believe some Canadians should lose their citizenship, then work to change the law. But so long as its not changed then ALL Canadians should receive equal protection under the law.

  16. Raphael Alexander,

    I agree with everything you say. But how does that inform our decision of what to do in the Khadr case?

    We have laws that apply to wartime situations, those are the closest that apply to his situation, yet we ignore them also. Why, because he's a bad person that means our society harm?

    Not good enough. Most of our criminals are bad and mean us harm, yet they get the benefit of equal treatment under the law.

  17. I don't say canadians should lose their citizenship, I asked is there a process in place. I know Chretain took away Black's but I think he asked for it to be recinded.

  18. maryT, Conrad Black gave up his citizenship to become a British peer, he didn't lose it. The PM would not waive the rule that Canadians cannot become foreign knights, barons, etc.

    There is no way that I'm aware of for a Canadian to have his/her citizenship taken away--though perhaps there should be.

  19. Hi Russ,

    I mostly scan the right-wing blogosphere when I need a cheap laugh, or when my cynicism about the far right is in need of a recharge.

    Sometimes I try to crack their facade:

    I must stop and acknowledge your courage to post what you did about the plight of Omar Khadr, even though it is counter to the rabid lynch-mob stance of most others on the right.

    Like me, you seem to understand that genuine values run all the way down to the core. Values and principles are not like shirts that you're free to change or remove if they're ever a tad uncomfortable.

    I've actually not had many issues with genuine conservative values, it's just that you guys are getting harder to find.

    Again thanks for having the courage to take a principled stand on this.