Omar Ahmed Khadr (1986-09-19 age:31) grew up in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His family moved to Canada where he became a Canadian Citizen. On 2001-10-07 the USA illegally invaded Afghanistan in a first strike attack. The USA arm-twisted Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chrétien into joining the war, saying he would let Canada off the hook for the coming Iraq war if they would join in attacking Afghanistan. Britain and other NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) countries joined in.
When he was 15, Khadr went to Afghanistan to defend his country. The picture in the top left shows him just before he left for Afghanistan. On 2002-07-27 some American soldiers attacked him. He fought them off for four hours. In the process a grenade killed one of them, Christopher Speer. Khadr said he did not throw it. Two others potentially could have. Nobody saw him actually throw it. Then they captured him.
Given his young age, legally he was supposed to be treated as a child soldier. That did not happen. Had he been older, he should have been detained as a POW (Prisoner Of War). That did not happen either. He was flown off to Guantánamo in Cuba for torture and indefinite detainment where Americans pretend their constitution does not apply. He was eventually changed with murder, even though what he did, defending his country and defending himself was completely legal. In contrast, the American soldiers who tried to kill him are guilty of a capital international war crime, namely aiding and abetting an aggressive (first strike) war.
In law you must treat everyone the same. Nobody else was treated the way Khadr was. Not even Nazis were tried for murder for defending themselves or even for shooting US soldiers. What happened to Khadr is in flagrant violation of US and international law.
He was offered a plea bargain in 2011 where he could plead guilty and in return be released from Guantánamo and go stay in a prison in Canada. He took the deal and was sentenced to 40 years. This was still better than a torture dungeon. This was not a confession. Anyone would confess to anything to avoid an additional decade in a torture dungeon. How dare Canadian and American politicians refer to this as a confession! A real judge would throw that out in an eyeblink. Then the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper reneged. He is still in Guantánamo.
Roméo Dallaire is Canada’s most famous general. He instrumental in exposing the atrocities in Rwanda and Darfur. He has started a petition to let Khadr serve his sentence in Canada as promised. He has set up a petition.
This is one of the most disgusting examples of those with power lording it over those without, purely for malice.
|Omar Khadr age 25|
On 2012-09-29 Khadr came back to Canada to serve at least one more year in a maximum security prison. Sensing political hay, Conservative Cabinet minister Dick Toews lied and called Khadr a convicted terrorist. Khadr was not even accused of killing civilians, much less convicted. There was no evidence he even shot the illegally invading solidier. All the Americans had was a confession extracted under duress after many years of resistance. Dozen of principles of law were ignored in this case. It the sort of thing you might expect some Syrian dictatorship to pull off.
Dallaire is Canada’s most famous and respected general. He sent me (and others) this message.
It finally happened. After more than a decade in Guantánamo Bay and Bagram, Omar Khadr is home.
Early Saturday morning, the former child soldier and Canadian citizen was transferred to a maximum-security prison near Kingston, Ontario, where he is now in the hands of correctional services.
Over the past 10 years, Omar Khadr’s rights have been violated time and again. He has been denied the right to due process and a fair trial, the right to protection from torture and the rights stemming from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict.
While it’s still early and the road ahead is long, what’s clear is the political battle is now over.
Thank you for joining us and over 30,000 Canadian Change.org users — along with global citizens from over 90 countries — in our call to repatriate Omar Khadr. This victory is yours as much as it is Omar’s.
Regrettably, the Canadian government has continued to demonize Khadr in an effort to undermine his rehabilitation. Canadians ought to expect more from their elected officials.
Against all odds, Khadr has been a model prisoner and a keen student. He has the right to prove himself. Now, he will finally have that chance.
Roedy, this development is long overdue — but it is an unmistakable step towards protecting human rights and the rights of children in armed conflict. And it marks the end of a decade-long national embarrassment.
For now, let us wish Omar well.
LGen Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, (Retired), Senator
The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
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