Harper is not about to question the U.S. kangaroo court even though the court's lack of credibility is more than obvious, so obvious that the head of the tribunals had to resign for saying that the idea was to obtain convictions.
Harper knows that the Khadr family is well known to Canadians for their connection to Al Qaeda so they are not likely to care about violation of Khadr's rights. Harper is very supportive of human rights when it is politically astute to do so but otherwise it seems he is quite prepared to cater to his friend Bush and his cronies.
Khadr's U.S. lawyer urges Ottawa to act
Navy officer joins opposition parties to ask federal government to seek release of `child soldier'
Feb 26, 2008 04:30 AM tonda maccharles ottawa bureau
OTTAWA–The United States returned up to a dozen children and teenagers held as "combatants" in Guantanamo Bay to their respective countries, and might well act if it received a request from Canada to return Omar Khadr, says his military lawyer.
U.S. Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, flanked by members of the three federal opposition parties, yesterday urged the Conservative government to insist on Khadr's return, suggesting the time is ripe for the U.S. to accede to such a request.
"Omar is, in our view and I think in the view of most of the international community who have looked at this case, a child soldier," said Kuebler. "His prosecution for war crimes is unprecedented in the history of war crimes tribunals."
Khadr was 15 when arrested.
The opposition parties united for the first time in calling on the Canadian government to act, and said they would seek an emergency debate in Parliament on Khadr's fate, as well as a study by a human rights subcommittee of the Commons' Foreign Affairs committee.
But the federal government appeared unmoved by the arguments, calling demands to have Khadr returned "premature" as "legal" processes are still underway.
Kuebler said that while details are scarce, the U.S. has jailed up to a dozen young people, some as young as age 10, at Guantanamo Bay. He said they are held at a separate facility known as Camp Iguana, with appropriate educational and developmental services provided as international conventions dictate for "child soldiers."
Among them, Kuebler said, was a 14-year-old Afghan boy arrested in the death of the first American soldier killed in this Afghan conflict, who was also eventually released.
None of the other so-called "child soldiers" ended up facing charges, much less war crimes charges, said Kuebler. All were returned at the request of their governments.
Khadr was singled out and treated differently, he suggested, because his father was Ahmed Said Khadr, a senior Al Qaeda fundraiser. The younger Khadr, "recruited" at age 10, was believed to have "intelligence value," and so was subjected to "rigorous interrogation."
Khadr was captured in July 2002 in Afghanistan, after a battle with U.S. Special Forces. He faces charges of murder "in violation of the laws of war" in the death of medic Sgt. Christopher Speer, attempted murder, conspiracy, spying and providing material support to terrorism.
"If a just outcome is to be secured in Omar Khadr's case, it's going to be because the Canadian government follows the lead of the British government and the Australian government and every other Western country that has demanded the repatriation of its citizen from Guantanamo Bay to face due process in a legitimate system," said Kuebler.
But Neil Hrab, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, said nothing has changed from the government's view.
"Omar Khadr faces serious charges. The Government of Canada has sought and received assurances that Mr. Khadr is being treated humanely," Hrab said in an email. "Departmental officials have carried out several welfare visits with Mr. Khadr and will continue to do so. Any questions regarding whether Canada plans to ask for the release of Omar Khadr from Guantanamo are premature and speculative as the legal process and appeals are still underway."
Kuebler said the U.S. case against Khadr is "pure fiction," and cited recent revelations that there was, in fact, another surviving combatant after the gunfight, in addition to Khadr, raising the possibility he was not the one who threw the grenade that killed the U.S. soldier.
New Democrat MP and justice critic Joe Comartin, Liberal Dominic Leblanc and the Bloc's Vivienne Barbot said Khadr is a "child soldier" who should be returned to Canada to face "due process."
Meanwhile, the Canadian Bar Association yesterday joined counterparts in France and England in calling on U.S. President George W. Bush to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison, calling it "a grievous affront to the rule of law."'
With files from Tracey Tyler