The Quebec Bar reaffirms its position: Omar Khadr must be repatriated!



    MONTREAL, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - In line with the public position it
took in February 2008, the Quebec Bar joins Lawyers Without Borders (LWB), 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 in calling on the
Government of Canada to request the repatriation of Omar Khadr without delay
so that he may be afforded a fair and impartial trial consistent with the
values and legal standards to which Canadians subscribe. Omar Khadr, a
Canadian citizen, has been held by the U.S. authorities at Guantanamo Bay
Naval Base in Cuba for the past six years, in violation of the most
fundamental legal norms.
    In solidarity with the other members of this legal coalition supporting
LWB's initiative, the Quebec Bar calls on the federal political parties to
express their unqualified support for Omar Khadr's repatriation, with respect
to which Canada is setting a troubling precedent. With the federal election
campaign underway, Canadian citizens are entitled to know where the various
parties stand and what steps they intend to take in this regard.

    Mobilizing for justice and the full respect of fundamental rights and
    freedoms

    "Omar Khadr's case raises a number of critically important issues, which
ought to be decided by a court law in strict accordance with the principles of
justice and impartiality. That is not the case for the military tribunals
established at Guantanamo," said Quebec Bar President Gérald R. Tremblay,
C.M., O.Q., Q.C. In keeping with its belief that a competent court should
decide Omar Khadr's guilt or innocence at the conclusion of a trial conducted
in accordance with the rule of law, the Quebec Bar made representations to the
Government of Canada on February 1, 2008 calling for Omar Khadr's
repatriation. The Quebec Bar believes that Canada ought to offer protection
and assistance to all of its citizens caught up in a foreign judicial system,
whatever their alleged crimes, and in particular should ensure that minimum
legal standards are met.
    Omar Khadr was captured by the U.S. armed forces when he was 15 years
old. Since 2002, he has been incarcerated under conditions in which virtually
all of his fundamental rights as an individual and as a minor have been
violated. Mr. Khadr was finally allowed to see a lawyer 27 months after his
initial detention and was only informed of the charges against him after three
and a half years of captivity. As the victim of cruel and degrading treatment,
included alleged torture, Omar Khadr has only had contact with his family
twice in the past six years and has never been treated as a child soldier,
even though this right is recognized under international legal principles and
treaties to which Canada subscribes.
    Consequently, the Quebec Bar calls on the Canadian authorities to
exercise diplomatic protection to ensure that:

    
    1. Omar Khadr is not tried as an adult, given that he was 15 years old at
       the time of the alleged offences with which he has been charged.

    2. Omar Khadr is not tried by military tribunals that do not meet due
       process requirements as established by the U.S. Supreme Court and the
       Canadian Supreme Court.

    3. Omar Khadr is repatriated to face trial to Canada in accordance with
       the principles of fundamental justice, the rule of law and Canada's
       international obligations, in particular the United Nations Convention
       on the Rights of the Child, to which the U.S. is not a signatory.
    

    The above points are part of a more detailed position paper that is
available in its entirety on the Quebec Bar's website at:
http://www.barreau.qc.ca/actualitesmedias/positions/index.html

    The Quebec Bar

    The Quebec Bar is the professional association representing some
22,500 lawyers in the province of Quebec. In carrying out its primary mission
of protecting the public, the Quebec Bar seeks to strengthen the bonds of
trust between lawyers, the public and the government. To that end, the Quebec
Bar monitors legal professional practice, supports member legal practitioners,
fosters their sense of belonging and upholds the primacy of the rule of law.




For further information:

For further information: France Bonneau, Communications Department,
(514) 954-3400 (ext. 3430); Martine Meilleur, Communications Department, (514)
954-3400 (ext. 3124)

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Barreau du Québec

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