By Gail Davidson, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada | July 4, 2014
The U.S. designated Omar Khadr as an “unprivileged belligerent” in order to charge him with offences that are not crimes under U.S., Canadian or international law (whether or not he committed the alleged acts underlying the charges). The U.S. claimed ‘unprivileged belligerents’ could not claim combat immunity or the protection of the Geneva Conventions.
A recently released memo establishes that the U.S. knew the charges against Omar Khadr were not legal, months before the U.S. offered a ‘get out of jail in 8 years’ plea bargain to him. The U.S. Department of Justice legal memo dated July 2010, says there is no such thing in law as an “unprivileged belligerent”. The memo was released by court order on the application of the American Civil Liberties Association and the New York Times.
The Government of Canada knew that:
- The charges against Omar Khadr were bogus and could never be upheld by a properly constituted court;
- Confessions were extracted from Omar Khadr through the use of torture and other prohibited treatment including threats, beatings, psychological torment, incommunicado and arbitrary detention, prolonged solitary confinement, denial of habeas corpus, denial of the right to legal representation, denial of timely and confidential legal representation; denial of access to a properly constituted, impartial and independent tribunal and denial of fair trial rights;
- Omar Khadr was and is properly presumed to be a ‘prisoner of war’ and is entitled to the protection of international and Canadian law including the Geneva Conventions;
- Omar Khadr was illegally captured, transported to and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay in violation of all applicable international law and Canadian law;
- Omar Khadr was a child at the time of capture and as such was entitled to special protections ensuring all his rights including his right to liberty.
The Government of Canada knew all these and other factors indicating that the imprisonment of Omar Khadr was not legally justified because Lawyers against the War and others told them on many occasions.
READ ALL ABOUT IT:
- Secret U.S. memo suggests no legal basis to charge Omar Khadr with war crimes By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press | July 2, 2014;
- U.S. ‘drone memo’ offers legal ammunition in Omar Khadr case – If CIA drone pilots cannot be charged with war crimes, how could Pentagon convict former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr? By Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star | 2 July 2014;
- UNITED STATES COURT OF MILITARY COMMISSION REVIEW | June 30, 2014. Lawyers for Omar Khadr explain in this court filing that the just-published US Department of Justice memorandum contains information that directly challenges the American government’s case against their client.
Write to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice and Public Safety asking for the immediate release of Omar Khadr:
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper: firstname.lastname@example.org and PM@pm.gc.ca
- Minister of Justice Peter MacKay: email@example.com
- Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Omar Ahmed Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, including the murder of American Army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. Our Government supports the efforts of his wife Tabitha Speer and fellow soldiers to receive compensation for their horrible loss suffered at the hands of Omar Ahmed Khadr.
We have vigorously defended against any attempt to lessen his punishment for these crimes.
While Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau refused to rule out special compensation for this convicted terrorist and the NDP actively tries to force Canadian taxpayers to compensate him, we believe the victims of crime, not the perpetrators, are the ones who deserve compensation.”
July 2, 2014
Press Secretary | Attaché de presse
Office of the Hon. Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Jason.Tamming@ps-sp.gc.ca | @jaytamming