Opposition urges Khadr's return

The Canadian Press

February 11, 2009 at 10:58 AM EST

OTTAWA — Members of Parliament from all three opposition parties have written Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to seek Omar Khadr's return to Canada when he meets the U.S. president next week.

Toronto Liberal Bob Rae says Barack Obama's visit to Ottawa on Feb. 19 is a golden opportunity to resolve the issue once and for all.

Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, has been held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since he was wounded and captured by U.S. soldiers in a July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.

“He has been in Guantanamo prison for a long time,” Mr. Rae said Wednesday. “We believe his return to Canada is long overdue.

“It's in Canada's interest and it's in Mr. Khadr's interest to allow him to be reintegrated into ... Canadian society. If he is to face charges — and that's an independent decision, not a political decision — those charges should be considered in Canada under Canadian law.”

Mr. Khadr has been charged with murder and imprisoned without trial for seven years even though he was just 15 at the time he was captured.

Mr. Harper has refused to get involved and rejects suggestions that Mr. Khadr should be considered a child soldier.

Mr. Obama has ordered Guantanamo closed within a year. New Democrat MP Paul Dewar said Canada's lack of involvement in the Khadr file is “incredibly shocking.”

“We seem to have a government that's in deep denial at a time when in Washington the writing is being put on the wall for Canada — Guantanamo's going to be closed. Guess what happens next?” said Mr. Dewar.

“Mr. Khadr has to go somewhere. I don't think Mr. Obama really cares to have him stay there.”

Mr. Khadr's lawyers say their client would be willing to face prosecution in Canada and undergo a transition period away from his family under the guidance of an expert team if the United States sent him home. They have already presented Mr. Harper with a transition proposal.

To allay fears Mr. Khadr is a potentially dangerous terrorist, his lawyers propose having him live with either a Muslim or Anglo-Saxon family who have offered to take him in.

A transition committee, including prominent Toronto psychiatrist and torture expert Donald Payne, would oversee his progress.

Mr. Khadr's family, most of whom live in east-end Toronto, were once close associates of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Khadr's mother, Maha Elsamnah, said Tuesday she would happily forego having her son live with her and his younger brother if it meant he would get the help he needed integrating back into Canadian society.





Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre

Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa Capital of male gender apartheid, Canada wrote: The master of this theatre is Mr. Harper who if he had lifted his little finger in the right direction, Omar Khadr would never have been deported. Now, he refuses to do the same and give the nod for the return of Omar Khadr, and in doing so, is ignoring some serious body language from Obama and putting his hands over his eyes when it comes to calls from the opposition. It begs the question as to why, and as usual , thats got to be timing, Mr. Harper is delaying the return probably because he does not want to deal with the negative fall out and he thinks that the longer he delays the more the story will die down? Perhaps he is waiting for Obama to raise the issue with him personally before being seen 'to do Obama a favour' in getting rid of yet another problem / embarrassment. What we have seen and are seeing is Mr. Harpers scant regard for justice especially when it conflicts with political goals. And, thats part of the sickness that pervades Canada, a national judicial and political willingness to do what is politically correct rather than legally correct or ethically or morally correct. www.OttawaMensCentre.com