It has been a number of months since we have blogged about Omar Khadr. The Canadian government promised his return a number of months ago, but they are now delaying.
Senator Roméo Dallaire is running a petition online via the Change.org website:
The case of Omar Khadr—a Canadian citizen and former child soldier—is a stain upon our society and shows a blatant disregard for Canada’s obligations under international law.
After years of dragging its feet, Canada finally agreed to his return in 2010, so long as he served one additional year in Guantánamo. No one forced the government’s hand. It made its promise voluntarily. That year has passed, and yet the transfer request continues to gather dust on the minister’s desk awaiting his signature. This is simply unacceptable.
The Americans have held up their end of the deal. Omar Khadr has held up his end of the deal. Why is the Canadian government refusing to follow through on its commitment?
Enough is enough. Canada must keep its word — and Minister Toews must authorize Omar Khadr’s return without delay. A deal is a deal.
You can also follow Dallaire's efforts via his Facebook page.
Peter Worthington has written an interesting comment, coming at it from the other direction:
Born in Scarborough, most of his life has been pledged to furthering the cause of al-Qaida, following the lead of his father who was killed in a Pakistani ambush.
But to call Khadr a "murderer" because he killed an American soldier who was invading Afghanistan is ridiculous, even though he confessed to being one as part of his deal to be returned to Canada from Guantanamo Bay.
It's only slightly less ridiculous than justifying or excusing everything he did on grounds that he was a "child soldier" at the time, and did not appreciate the consequences of his actions. Baloney to that nonsense.
There are factions in Toronto and elsewhere that view Khadr as something of a folk-hero and lobby for his return.
Others want him banned, or, if he returns, charged with treason.
He essentially says he would be happy if Khadr was not brought home, but believes it does have to happen because he is Canadian. He sides with the government delaying the inevitable, however.
So the question, it appears, is not whether Omar Khadr will come back to Canada but when.
Do I see Khadr as a folk hero? No, but I do believe the way his incarceration and release are being handled show a disregard for human rights by two countries (Canada and the U.S.) that purport to support human rights throughout the world. His is not an easy case, and is a test of our system since it brings into play so many grey areas.
Ten years on, Khadr saga remains a national shame, by Roméo Dallaire and Shelly Whitman, The Ottawa Citizen, July 26, 2012.
USA vs. Khadr – Judicial Quote of the Decade, by Omar Ha-Redeye, Slaw, May 8, 2011.
Khadr and the Depravity Scaler, by Simon Fodden, Slaw, October 26, 2010.
Constraints on the Press at Guantanamo, by Simon Fodden, Slaw, October 14, 2010.
Canada C. Khadr Decision, by Simon Chester, Slaw, January 29, 2010.
Friday Release for Prime Minister of Canada Et Al. v. Omar Ahmed Khadr, by Simon Chester, Slaw, January 26, 2010.
Khadr Military Commission Prosecution to Continue, by Simon Fodden, Slaw, November 13, 2009.
CBA Calls for Repatriation of Omar Khadr (Again), by Connie Crosby, Slaw, May 4, 2009.
Federal Court Decision on Khadr, by Simon Fodden, Slaw, April 24, 2009.
Continuing Efforts to Bring Omar Khadr Home, by Connie Crosby, Slaw, December 15, 2008.
Guantanamero. Guajiro, Guantanamero., by Omar Ha-Redeye, Slaw, August 24, 2008.
Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Khadr, Simon Fodden, Slaw, May 24, 2008.
SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Khadr, by Simon Fodden, Slaw, April 30, 2007.