Omar Khadr finally sent to Canada

The US government has finally released Canadian Omar Khadr from Guantanamo and sent him to Canada to finish out the remainder of the 10-year term imposed on him by a military tribunal in 2010.

Khadr was just 15 years old when he was picked up in Afghanistan and accused of attacking US forces and killing a US soldier. He was charged with a war crime. I (amongst many others) wrote about the shameful treatment of Khadr by the US back in 2010 and you can read about his case in that post.

Commenters to that post provided some additional useful information about his case. Commenter Eric explained how it was that Khadr came to be charged with a war crime.

Khadr’s lawyer actually spoke at a class I was in about 2 years ago. He mentioned that one of the interesting things about the case was that Khadr was charged with “murder in violation of the laws of war.” Because the U.S. was officially at war with Afghanistan at the time, Khadr had to be classed as either an enemy combatant, in which case he was a POW and couldn’t be tried for doing his job, or a civilian, in which case he was entitled to a civilian trial for simple murder, with all the due process therein.

So, the DOD found a third option: try him for a war crime. POWs can be put on trial for war crimes. The problem was, Khadr threw a grenade. That’s it. So, they had to come up with a war crime to charge him with, “murder in violation of the laws of war,” which is a made-up war crime. It’s not in the Geneva Conventions. The sole justification for holding Khadr without either POW or civilian status is…that a 15-year-old boy wasn’t wearing a uniform when he threw the grenade.

So basically that US makes up the rules as it goes along, all designed to serve its own immediate interests.

There were some other comments by people who seemed to feel that rather than upholding universal standards of justice, we should have one standard for those who take up arms against US forces and a different one for those who take up arms on behalf of the US. They felt that since the US was fighting for the ‘greater good’, Khadr was lucky that he was not summarily executed.


  1. kraut says

    As a Canadian, I am ashamed of my government:

    1. It never fought for the release of Khadr, who after all was a minor.

    2. Never defended him for the ridiculous claim of war crimes by the US, this in the face of multiple killings of civilians by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, the behaviour of troops in that country, night raids on “suspicious” houses etc.
    3. It took them years to finally agree to a transfer after a laughable juridical decision.

    Yes, the US have made up laws as they as the “Victor” saw fit, and denying the application of international war crime laws and subsequent investigation by the international court in the Hague, but requesting everybody else to adhere to those laws and the authority of that court.

    Hypocrisy doesn’t come close to describe the utter arrogance and the attempt to subvert international law in their own case.

    Because of that the US worldwide has lost any and all right to moralize on the behaviour of other nations, it does have not any moral authority left after Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Chile, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan…if it ever had any.

  2. Jean says

    I’m another Canadian who’s ashamed of my government. The way this has been handled is atrocious. And if the US hadn’t forced the hand of Canada, Omar Khadr would still be not be in Canada.

    This government is a real joke. This event is just one of many things terribly wrong with it. Among others, we have a Minister of state for the status of women (Rona Ambrose) who votes for reopening the abortion debate (even if the party promised not to do so at the last elections) and we have a Minister of state for science and technology (Gary Goodyear) who’s a creationist.

  3. says

    Khadr, the victim of war crimes (recruitment as a child soldier and torture in Guantanamo), is now a convicted war criminal–not through a trial, but a plea agreement entered into so he could languish in a Canadian prison instead of a US gulag. Even so, it took a year afterwards for Harper to agree to take him back. If it had been Harper’s choice, he certainly would have left him there to rot forever. I’m so ashamed of my government. Khadr is suing for $10 million, but I think he probably deserves more.

  4. yaqub says

    poor little islamic fanatic FORCED to be a child soldier eh? bullshit, his family are al-qaeda through and through – canada made the mistake once of trying to help out khadr pere when the pakistanis were trying to bring him to justice, the mind boggles as to how you can have sympathy for this little islamonazi. save the freedom fighters – donate to the taliban now! call 1-800-EMPATHY. y’all are fucktarded leftists, there’s a big difference between liberalism and leftism, on that side of the atlantic you don’t seem to have got the memo.

  5. Trickster Goddess says

    Now that he is back home, I hope that his lawyers will pursue action in the Canadian courts to vacate his conviction on those bogus charges and because his human rights were violated.

    Harper isn’t the only one who should be ashamed; Paul Martin also sat inactive while every other western country was repatriating their nationals from Guano to deal with them home under their own laws. If Martin had done that them this whole fiasco could have been avoided and Khadr would have been rehabilitated an probably be in college by now.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the U.S. was officially at war with Afghanistan at the time…


    Last I heard, Congress has not issued a formal declaration of war since December, 1941.

  7. kraut says

    “poor little islamic fanatic FORCED to be a child soldier eh? bullshit, his family are al-qaeda through and through”

    Nice to know that you support the concept of Sippenhaft, and are willing to throw the concept of justice out of the dor when it suits you.

    If you look for an arsehole – just look in the mirror, facing it.

  8. erk12 says

    Hey, remember those Japanese internment camps the Canadian gov’t has been forced to apologize for and pay reparations in 1988? Good thing we learned from that and don’t now decide human rights don’t apply to people we consider the enemy. *face palm*

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