Abdurahman Khadr – Canadian back from Guantanamo Bay by way of Sarajevo

After 2 years in Guantanamo Bay with his younger brother, Abdurahman Khadr is back where he belongs – in the country he was raised. Whatever one thinks about what he had to say in today’s press conference, this young man is a Canadian`, and our government has not accepted responsibility for him. For nearly a year, he and his 17 year-old brother have been in the legal black hole (among other things) that is Guantanamo Bay, and the Canadian government hasn’t had anything to say about this. Canada, as an apparent defender of human rights world-wide, is not even capable of defending a basic human right for its citizens abroad: the right to *not* be held indefinitely without charge.

This is very basic, and it doesn’t matter what the situation is. If there is enough evidence, an individual should be charged and tried in either civilian or military courts. We afford this basic right to even our most monstrous criminals – even the Nazis and Paul Bernardos of the world. While some may try to focus attention on the fact that he was in an “Al-Queda sponsored” training camp in Afghanistan when he was there, it distracts from the real issues: Guantanamo Bay is an illegitimate and probably illegal detention camp, and Abdurahman Khadr, who has citizenship in only one country, should have been sent to Canada and *not* Afghanistan. The US presumably decided that he was not a threat and not a terrorist, and rather than send him to Canada, they dumped him in Afghanistan without ID and let him fend for himself.

We can only presume young Mr. Khadr is innocent or he would still be held. Whatever the case of his father, who is alleged to have been associated with Al-Queda when he was alive, it has no bearing on the case of his sons. For the Canadian government to refuse to defend the rights of Canadians held in Guantanamo, and to deny them diplomatic assistance upon their release (at least in the case of Abdurahman), is simply indefensible. I mean, where else would the government have him go? He’s a Canadian, and upon release he should have been sent straight back home. Simple.

Here are transcribed excerpts of the press conference from the Toronto Star.


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