OTTAWA, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Omar Khadr's legal team provided an update
today on the status of Omar's prisoner transfer application, which was
submitted to the Canadian government on March 30, 2011.
Despite the agreement made by the Canadian government to transfer Omar
into Canadian custody to serve the remainder of his sentence, which was
made as part of his plea deal in 2010, his American and Canadian legal
teams confirmed today that the delay in processing the transfer rests
solely with the Canadian government. The prisoner transfer process is
the responsibility of the office of the Minister of Public Safety, Vic
John Norris, lead Canadian counsel:
"The conduct of the Canadian government is unconscionable. Omar was
officially recognized by the United Nations as a child soldier, and
despite this, he is the only minor to have been convicted of war crimes
in modern times.
The Minister should approve the transfer application immediately. In
October 2010, the Canadian government was intimately involved in the
negotiations of the pre-trial agreement. At that time, Canada agreed
to approve Omar's transfer to Canada. The Minister of Foreign Affairs
confirmed in the House that Canada would implement the agreement.
We continue to be stonewalled by Minister Toews' office. They have
provided us with no information on the progress of the application.
The only response we have received from Minister Toews is a letter sent
to us three hours after the release of our press advisory about this
press conference. It simply repeated the government's empty rhetoric.
Omar is a Canadian citizen. He has now spent a decade at Guantanamo
Bay. We call on Minister Toews to immediately approve the prisoner
transfer application and return Omar to Canada to serve the remainder
of his sentence in his home country."
Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson, lead U.S. military counsel:
"The bottom line is that there would have been no plea deal without
Canada's agreement in October 2010 to bring Omar to his country of
citizenship. The only thing preventing Omar's transfer from the United
States is the Canadian government. The U.S. Secretary of Defense
approved the transfer on April 16, 2012. There is nothing stopping
Minister Toews from approving the transfer now.
The United States is not soft on terrorism. The American government
would not allow a detainee to leave Guantanamo if he was in any way a
threat. The actions of the U.S. government on Omar's case demonstrate
that Omar is not a threat: it is why the U.S. entered into the plea
agreement; it is why the U.S. agreed to the transfer; and why the U.S.
is prepared to transfer him now.
The Canadian government is failing to live up to the commitment it made
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