Friday, June 8, 2007

Two letters on the Khadr Case

U.S. just won't listen on Khadr

Column, June 7

Considering that all his friends had been killed in the attack by the US it is hardly surprising Khadr threw a grenade. In the following post there is a description by Amnesty International of Khadr's case. Of course his family is notorious and there is little doubt of their sympathy for jihad and the father was associated with Bin Laden. Perhaps this explains the lack of outrage of Canadians at what is happening.

James Travers described the murder allegation against the then 15-year-old Omar Khadr as follows: "Khadr has been held since 2002, when he allegedly threw a grenade, killing medic Christopher Speer, 28, who was attending to wounded Afghans."

As I understand the factual situation, Khadr and others (probably Al Qaeda) were in a house that was attacked by American and Afghan forces. A gun battle ensued and bombs were called in. Everyone in the house was killed except Khadr, who was badly wounded. It is in that context that it is alleged Khadr threw the grenade that killed the medic and blinded, in one eye, an American soldier.

I have been a criminal defence counsel for more than 40 years. The facts as I know them do not sound like the basis for a murder charge.

Paul Copeland, Toronto

U.S. left scrambling in wake of dismissal

June 6

Regardless of whether or not the charges against Omar Khadr go ahead, the whole idea that he is charged with murder and war crimes is rather surreal. He was 15 years old at the time. He was in a compound that was attacked by U.S. troops. Every other person whom he was with was killed. He was shot in the chest, twice.

Maybe Khadr threw a grenade and maybe he killed a U.S. soldier. But it was a war.

The whole thing reminds me of that great line from the Martin Sheen character in Apocalypse Now: "Charging a man with murder in this place is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."

Kane Slater, Toronto


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