MONTREAL, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - During a press conference at Canada
Place, Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWB) called for the repatriation of
Omar Khadr to Canada. In conjunction with the launch of its public information
campaign entitled "Omar Khadr Must Be Repatriated", LWB is calling on the
Canadian government to take all necessary steps with the U.S. government to
ensure Omar Khadr's repatriation so that his case can be dealt with in Canada
by competent, independent and impartial authorities.
"With the Canadian election campaign underway, we are calling on all
federal political parties to express their unqualified support for Omar
Khadr's repatriation and to specify what steps they would take to ensure that
repatriation is undertaken without delay," said Pascal Paradis, Executive
Director of LWB.
LWB has launched a public information campaign to explain why Omar
Khadr's case is of paramount importance to all Canadians. In a 22-point
statement available on its website, LWB Canada emphasizes that there is no
valid legal argument to support the view that Omar Khadr's repatriation cannot
be requested because a so-called process is underway in the U.S. In support of
the public information campaign, a special downloadable ringtone will be made
available to show support for the cause. The ringtone will be distributed by a
group of LWB volunteers who will circulate in various public places dressed in
orange jumpsuits similar to those worn by the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. It
will also be available on the Web.
"Omar Khadr will not be granted impunity if he is repatriated to Canada.
A competent court could decide his guilt or innocence, as the case may be, at
the conclusion of a fair and impartial trial conducted in accordance with the
rule of law. Omar Khadr is the only citizen of a Western country imprisoned in
Guantanamo whose repatriation has not been requested. It is unacceptable that
Canada has participated in the grave human rights violations to which he has
been subjected and that it continues to be complicit in these violations,"
said Fannie Lafontaine, professor of law at Laval University and a member of
LWB's Board of Directors.
Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was captured by the U.S. armed forces
during combat in Afghanistan; he was 15 years old at the time and was thus a
child under international law. He was transferred in October 2002 to the
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, where he has been deprived of his liberty
for six years in violation of numerous rights protected by international law,
including rights specifically granted to minors. In all likelihood, Omar Khadr
has been a victim of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, including
alleged torture. The military tribunal assigned to hear his case is not an
independent and impartial body. The system it applies is based on the
presumption of guilt which is a travesty of justice and which is in breach of
the minimum standards of international law and of Canadian and U.S. national
LWB's call for the repatriation of Omar Khadr has been endorsed by the
Quebec Bar, the Canadian Bar Association, the Young Bar Association of
Montreal, the Réseau des juristes d'Amnistie internationale (section Canada
francophone), the Amnesty International Canada Legal Network, Lawyers Rights
Watch Canada, the Ligue des droits et libertés and Canadian Lawyers Abroad.
These organizations together represent more than 50,000 members from the
Canadian legal community.
Call for the Repatriation of Omar Khadr
September 30, 2008
Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen who was born in Toronto on September 19,
1986. On July 27, 2002, he was captured by the United States of America's
military forces during a combat in Afghanistan. He was 15 at the time. At
first detained at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, he was
transferred in October 2002 to the Guantanamo Bay naval reserve in Cuba,
where he has been deprived of his freedom for 6 years.
We, the undersigned, join Lawyers without Borders Canada in calling:
- the Canadian Government to immediately take all the necessary steps
with the United States of America in order to repatriate Omar Khadr
so that his case be dealt with in Canada by competent, independent
and impartial authorities;
- all the federal political parties to pronounce themselves without
any reservation, in the course of the general elections presently
under way, in favour of the repatriation of Omar Khadr and to
specify which steps they will take in order for it to be carried
out in the shortest time possible.
The Quebec Bar wrote to the Canadian Government and took a stance in
favour of Omar Khadr's repatriation on February 1st, 2008.
CANADIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
The Canadian Bar Association pronounced itself in 2006 on the need to
respect the Rule of Law at Guantanamo Bay and, since 2007, has called for
the repatriation of Omar Khadr.
YOUNG BAR ASSOCIATION OF MONTREAL
RESEAU DES JURISTES D'AMNISTIE INTERNATIONALE CANADA FRANCOPHONE
Amnesty International French Canada is actively mobilised in favour of
Omar Khadr's repatriation. Among others, it will participate in the
October 5 to 11 action week organized by a Canadian coalition and runs a
campaign to send electronic cards to the Canadian Government.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CANADA LEGAL NETWORK
LAWYERS RIGHTS WATCH CANADA
On September 8, 2008, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada took a stance in favour
of Omar Khadr's repatriation and prepared a report on the question for
the purpose of the Universal Periodic Review of Canada's human rights
record by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
LIGUE DES DROITS ET LIBERTES
CANADIAN LAWYERS ABROAD
On February 6, 2008, Canadian Lawyers Abroad called on the Canadian
government to immediately seek to have Omar Khadr repatriated to face
justice under Canadian law. It has also established an online petition
that is open for signatures.
For further information:
For further information: Lysiane Clément-Major, (438) 868-5974; Source:
Lawyers Without Borders Canada; www.asfquebec.org