CBA Calls for Repatriation of Omar Khadr (Again)

Following the April 24th Federal Court of Canada decision, the Canadian Bar Association have again urged the Prime Minister to repatriate Omar Khadr. This time, they have addressed the plea to the U.S. President as well. From the CBA’s April 24th press release:

The CBA, which earlier this year called for Mr. Khadr’s repatriation following President Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Bay, is urging the two governments to immediately expedite the return of Mr. Khadr to face judicial process here.

From the CBA’s letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama (PDF):

We work to promote the Rule of Law and improve the administration of justice in Canada and around the world. It is in this light that we have protested Mr. Khadr’s subjection to the military tribunal process in Guantánamo Bay and called for his repatriation. We take no position on Mr. Khadr’s guilt or innocence. Our concern is that he receive a fair trial in accordance with all procedural protections and special considerations to be afforded a minor, as required by domestic and international law. Canada’s justice system is well equipped to fairly and openly assess Mr. Khadr’s criminal culpability, in a manner that reflects his status as a minor at the relevant time.

The latest issue of The Lawyer’s Weekly quotes Nathan Whitling of Edmonton’s Parlee McLaws, one of the lawyers representing Khadr on a pro bono basis:

Whitling told The Lawyers Weekly he was concerned that the government can effectively “win” by simply appealing and “running out the clock.”

“We have pretty strong indications that [the Obama administration] is going to make a decision right away [to remove Khadr from the military commission system], and it may well be to charge Omar before a U.S. federal court with some criminal offenses,” Whitling explained. “It’s going to be a lot harder to get him out of there once he has been charged. We’ve sent an e-mail [to federal counsel on April 24] demanding that the government comply with the order immediately and, if they don’t, we will have to bring a contempt application.”

And according to Canadian Press on April 29, the U.S. military commission hearings on child soldiers that had been halted by U.S. President Obama in January have now been rescheduled to start June 1st.

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