Saturday, 30 January 2010

Canadian Officials Breach Canadian Constitution in Guantanamo

The Supreme Court of Canada has held that officials from the Canadian department of foreign affairs participated in breaches of fundamental rights of an adolescent detained by the American at Guantanamo. Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was interrogated by Canadian officials in 2003 and 2004 while at the American detention centre. According to yesterday’s ruling: ‘This Court declares that through the conduct of Canadian officials in the course of interrogations in 2003-2004, as established on the evidence before us, Canada actively participated in a process contrary to Canada's international human rights obligations and contributed to Mr. Khadr's ongoing detention so as to deprive him of his right to liberty and security of the person guaranteed by s. 7 of the Charter, contrary to the principles of fundamental justice.’ The Court said: ‘Canadian officials questioned Mr. Khadr on matters that may have provided important evidence relating to his criminal proceedings, in circumstances where they knew that Mr. Khadr was being indefinitely detained, was a young person and was alone during the interrogations… Interrogation of a youth, to elicit statements about the most serious criminal charges while detained in these conditions and without access to counsel, and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the U.S. prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.’ Here is the judgment.
Khadr has the distinction of being the only citizen of a western democracy whose own government has not intervened on his behalf in order to organise repatriation. Although now in his early 20s, he was captured by United States forces in 2001 at the age of 15 and has been detained ever since. Omar Khadr was born in Toronto.
Thanks to Bill Hartzog.

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