OMAR KHADR | A Social Justice Issue For All Canadians
The letter below was sent by the Free Omar Khadr Now Committee to all Canadian MPs. You can help bring justice by contacting your MP on Omar’s behalf. You don’t have to write a lot; just let your elected representative know your position in support of justice & truth.
See http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/constituencies for MP’s email, phone & mailing info.
It would be useful, as well, to contact MPs in nearby ridings: the more, the better. No postage is required for letters to MPs.
Your voice counts!
See http://www.FreeOmarAKhadr.com for more background about Omar Khadr and for sample letters to your MP.
Omar Khadr and the Rule of Law
March 23, 2014
Dear Member of Parliament:
Do tortured child soldiers belong in Canadian prisons? On behalf of all Canadians who believe in the rule of law, we urge you to take a stand against the ongoing violation of Omar Khadr’s legal and human rights. The silence of Canadians inside and outside Parliament makes us complicit in a gross miscarriage of justice against a fellow Canadian.
“Some cases enshrine the defining moments of their time. Omar Khadr’s is one. Future generations will rightly judge our shocking dereliction of responsibility in this matter [and] our collective Canadian failure to extend justice and humanity.” – Constance Backhouse, Distinguished University Professor of Law, University of Ottawa.
A Brief Overview of Omar’s case:
- At 27, Omar suffers the ongoing effects of his torture and mistreatment: physical injuries, PTSD, chronic pain from infection in old wounds, and potential total blindness.
- Omar has spent 4250 days in prison since the age of 15; including 93 days in Bagram, 3624 days in Guantanamo and 533 days in Canadian detention.
- Although a number of children were detained in Gitmo, all were repatriated by Human Rights Watch. Omar was the only child left abandoned by his country and a decade later he was the last citizen of a Western country to be repatriated.
- The Canadian government reluctantly transferred Omar to Canada in September 2012 and continues to issue prejudicial statements which demonize him as a “heinous terrorist”.
- While every other Western nation released their citizens upon transfer from Guantanamo, Omar was immediately incarcerated in his native country. Instead of reintegrating him into society, Canada insists on his imprisonment under harsh conditions.
- In 2013, the Canadian Office of the Correctional Investigator pointed out Omar Khadr showed no signs of aggressive or dangerous behaviour, and “consistently verbalized his goal to conduct a peaceful, prosocial life as a Canadian citizen.” In Guantanamo, Omar had been classified as “minimum security”.
- Omar was offered his only chance to leave “Gitmo” by signing a “get-out-of-Guantanamo plea deal” before a universally-condemned U.S. military commission.
- Omar’s ongoing imprisonment ignores that his plea deal was extracted with evidence obtained under torture and the Guantanamo sentence was imposed in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute and the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
- Omar is the only child convicted of a war crime in modern history and the only person found guilty in the death of a U.S. soldier in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
- Canada knows there is no proof of guilt, and that Omar was ‘charged’ retroactively with newly created war crimes not recognized by international or Canadian law. Any legitimate court of law would not have tried or convicted him.
- Reports about Omar’s capture were doctored by the military and conflicting evidence does not support his charges. The only available evidence points to the innocence Omar consistently maintained. Yet he was forced into a confession of guilt, as explained by former Chief Prosecutor of Guantanamo military commissions, U.S. Colonel Morris Davis: “Our joke at Guantanamo was you gotta lose to win, cause if you get charged as a war criminal, convicted and lose you might go home. If you don’t get charged, you can sit there for the rest of your life.”
- The Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court have all ruled that Omar Khadr’s rights were violated by the U.S. and Canada.”
For further background on Omar’s case, please :
Review the fact sheet Omar Khadr [ > link to factsheet ]
See the November 2013 talk [ > link to video ]: U.S. Department of Defence lawyer, Sam Morison discusses his recent appeal of Omar’s U.S. ‘conviction’ and explains why there is no legal basis for his imprisonment.
After viewing the above, please answer the following question (with any additional comments you would like to add) and email your answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org by April 22 2014.
- Do you agree the Canadian government should release Omar Khadr as soon as possible and provide him with the necessary transitional programs to allow for his full participation in Canadian society? Yes/ No/ Don’t know
All MPs’ responses and non-responses will be shared with media and added to our website page: Politicians Speaking Out!
Thank you for making your position, on this defining case, clear to your constituents and all Canadians.
Members of the FREE Omar Khadr NOW Campaign
Contacts: Helen Sadowski and Kathy Copps
FREE Omar Khadr NOW Campaign