Proceedings against Omar Khadr now seem to have ended, with a verdict by a military jury in
condemning this ‘child soldier’ to forty years’ imprisonment. This would mean he would finish his sentence at the age of 64 for a ‘crime’ committed at the age of fifteen. Even the prosecutor had only asked for twenty five years. However, unknown to the jury, Khadr, who is Canadian, had made a deal when he pleaded guilty; an agreement to serve only eight years in addition to time already served, and to be returned to Guantanamo after a year to serve the remainder of his sentence. He’ll be back in Canada before Conrad Black! Canada
Khadr was captured by
United States forces in in 2002 when he was aged fifteen. His crime was killing an American soldier. I have never understood why it is a crime to kill an American soldier on a foreign battlefield. American soldiers don’t go to jail when they kill Afghans (or Canadians) on the battlefield, even in their own country? Would a United States court have convicted an American soldier for killing Omar Khadr in Afghanistan, instead of the other way around? Afghanistan
The Harper government in
refused to demand that Khadr be repatriated. It has been successfully challenged on this before the Federal Court, but has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Other governments with foreign nationals in Canada Guantanamo, like Australia and , have sought and obtained repatriation years ago. Britain
On Friday, the
United States legal advisor Harold Koh told the United Nations Human Rights Council that the detention centre would be closed, but that plans to do this were taking longer than expected for a variety of unconvincing reasons. Two years ago Harold spoke in Guantanamo Dublin at a lecture of the Royal Irish Academy where I was the respondent, and he proposed the immediate closing of as a priority for the new Obama administration. He told the Council on Friday that there are still 172 detainees, which is down from 242. In other words, they have reduced the Guantanamo detainee population by not quite 30% in slightly less than two years, at an average of about 3.3 prisoners every month. At that rate, it will take the Americans until about February of 2014 to empty the place, and that’s assuming Sarah Palin isn’t elected in 2012. Guantanamo
If their goal is to reduce the prison population at
, there’s no good reason why they couldn’t release Khadr – who has already spent eight years in detention - immediately. Guantanamo
Thanks to John Reynolds.
Thanks to John Reynolds.