Regular readers will know full well that I have no love for Stephen Harper, considering him a feckless, short-sighted and generally mean-spirited individual. His stance on the repatriation of Omar Khadr does nothing to change this opinion.
Let us recap: Omar Khadr was arrested as a child soldier in the Afghanistan war when he was fifteen. International commitments signed by both Canada and the United States recognize that individuals below the age of eighteen cannot be legally considered “soldiers,” and even if you ignore the optional protocol that was signed in 2002 (and is thus a binding commitment on both countries) Khadr would still be toeing the line of the 15-year-old age limit for child soldiers. But he’s still in Guantanamo.
His lawyers have shown that evidence against him – specifically the evidence responsible for his charge of killing a soldier with a grenade – has been altered after the fact. The Pentagon itself has accidentally released conflicting evidence. But he’s still in Guantanamo.
We know that Khadr has been subjected to extended sleep deprivation. Extended sleep deprivation is torture – it deliberately and systematically breaks down a person’s mental health, forcing them into a state akin to psychosis. But he’s still in Guantanamo.
And Stephen Harper’s defense for allowing this to continue? “The previous government took a whole range, all of the information into account when they made the decision on how to proceed with the Khadr case several years ago.” Yes, Stephen Harper’s argument is that the Liberals didn’t do anything when they were in office. By this logic, of course, no elected official can ever do anything about a situation that began before they took office. It’s idiotic and cowardly, which coming from Stephen Harper should prove no surprise.
But one more point:
“Harper added that Canada: “frankly, has no real alternative” to the U.S. legal process. “
This is a lie. Plainly and simply, it is a lie. We know this because Omar Khadr is the sole remaining prisoner in Guantanamo who is a citizen of a Western country. The Brits and the Aussies have already removed their citizens and dealt with them as they see fit. Canada has “no real alternative” because its Prime Minister doesn’t want there to be an alternative.