Friday, June 15, 2007

Canada alone does not fight for release of citizens at Guanatamo

Reporters don't seem to notice that one of Khadr's brothers Abdurahman is back in Canada after being in Guantanamo as a CIA spy. I can't recall the Canadian government ever even criticising Guantanamo but perhaps the Liberals may have at some time. The Harper government on the whole is very much gung ho on the war on terrorism although with respect to Arar they bucked the US position and even complained. Of course no one was punished or really held accountable within CSIS or the RCMP. It seems there will be no inquiry into the RCMP in spite of other revelations recently.

Canada 'stands alone' on Khadr

Globe and Mail Update

June 14, 2007 at 1:08 PM EDT

The failure of the Canadian government to seek Omar Khadr's release from Guantanamo Bay leaves it standing virtually alone on the world stage, according to Amnesty International.

Almost every other individual in the U.S. compound in Cuba has governments fighting for their release, Amnesty International Canada Secretary-General Alex Neve said Thursday, insisting it is time Canada joined the effort.

“Even though everyone else seems to get it... Canada still remains silent,” Mr. Neve said. “This isn't law. This isn't justice. This must end.”

Omar Khadr, 20, has been in detention for five years, accused by the U.S. government of tossing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier and injured another in 2002. He is the sole Westerner and only Canadian still held at Guantanamo Bay.

The failure of the Canadian government to seek Omar Khadr's release from Guantanamo Bay leaves it standing virtually alone on the world stage, according to Amnesty International (CP)


Amnesty International on Khadr case

Amnesty International's Alex Neve talks with reporters about the Khadr case

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Defence Department to appeal Khadr decision
From the archives

Previous discussion: Paul Koring on the Khadr case
White House stymied on legal way forward after Khadr decision
U.S. terror trials in doubt after Khadr
His case was thrown out of the controversial terrorist tribunal on June 4 because the charges did not name him as an “unlawful” combatant.

The Bush administration announced on June 8 that it would appeal the decision. Unfortunately for Mr. Khadr, the court authorized to hear appeals under the new system has yet to be created.

Amnesty International said Mr. Khadr should be tried under Canada's justice system on allegations that he murdered a U.S. military medic in Afghanistan.

University of Ottawa associate professor and author on international law Craig Forcese supported the call for Mr. Khadr's release, saying the 20-year-old's detention has no basis in international law.

“This is a final straw, and it is now time for the government to exercise its duty to extend protection to Mr. Khadr,” Mr. Forcese said.

Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said on Wednesday that he had made several requests on behalf of Mr. Khadr, and had contacted his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, last week about the case.

He said he asked her to ensure Mr. Khadr be granted better access to his family, legal counsel and educational material

While Australia, Britain and other countries have been “very forceful,” in demanding the release of their citizens, Mr. Neve said Canada virtually stood alone on the world stage in its reluctance to act.

He said that could be the product of Mr. Khadr's family, whose the domestic reputation could be a major factor in the government's reluctance to help.

“The Khadr family has a notorious reputation with the Canadian public. It has not endeared itself. Canadian governments don't want to be seen doing anything that suggest they are sympathetic or support their aims,” he said.

“[But] this is about human rights. Human rights must matter and prevail, no matter anything.”

On top of that, the Canadian government often does not want to be forceful with the U.S. government on matters of terrorism, he said.

– With a report from Canadian Press

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