RE: Khadr’s lawyers no strangers to int’l cases
Law Times Online – Mon Aug 20, 2012
written by Siobhan McClelland
1) Please name the “international body that has condemned Canada’s stance in this matter” so we can judge their candor or bias. If is it other left-wing and politically compromised Human Rights groups like Amnesty International – I will take a pass. AI Canada was quite happy to ignore Omar Khadr while the Liberals were in power due to their love affair with the Liberal Justice Minister – Irwin Cotler.
Also, as Ezra Levant noted in his book “The Enemy Within” the Canadian Bar Association issued NOT ONE Press Releases about Omar Khadr from the moment we learned of his capture in September /October 2002 until 2006 while the Liberals were in power and noted Human Rights Lawyer Irwin Cotler was the Liberals Justice Minister. And neither did the CBA comment on the abuses faced by dual Canadian – British citizen William Sampson who REALLY was brutally tortured in Saudia Arabia from Dec 2000 – Aug 2003 on trumped up charges.
Nor did the CBA have any compunction NOT to issue damning Press Releases about dual Canadian-Chinese citizen Huseyincan Celil likewise imprisoned since 2006 on trumped-up charges of radicalizing Uyghur minority’s – all the while arranging exchange junkets with the All China Lawyers Association from 2008-2010. Or when the CBA visited Burma at the request of brutal Military Junta while Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace Prize winner – continued to be held hostage for 15 years for supporting a democratic alternative to the repressive Junta. Is it not strange that the CBA did not request ANY investigation of these horrific Human Rights abuses and was absolutely silent until Omar Khadr became a convenient issue to beat the Conservative government with?
2) It should be of no surprise to any Canadian Criminal lawyer in this country that “weekend sentence” inmates are subjected to the same “Frequent Flyer” sleep-deprivation practices (over 3 days) in virtually every major urban lock-up in this country – and we don’t hear the same outcry from the Canadian Bar Association. So, why is it necessary for Omar Khadr? This practice is undoubtedly discomforting – but it is not “torture” – like having jumper cables attached to your ball sac.
3) I beg to differ that it does not trouble me in the least that the prosecutions at Gitmo did not include a separate treatment for “Young Offenders” as the crimes entertained were not subject to protections afforded nationals or citizens. To claim civil court jurisdiction is simply false. We don’t do this for every Canadian citizen picked up in Europe on a charge – why at Gitmo? That was the point of holding them at Gitmo in the first place – absent of Habeas Corpus, prosecuted under a Military Commission for War Crimes. The detainees are not subject to Geneva Convention as they are not “legitimate combatants” in the sense of an organized army subject to a command structure or due process punishment for disciplinary violations. Omar Khadr was a “teen terrorist” 7 weeks shy of his 16th birthday – and not a child soldier. It is practically seditious to even suggest otherwise – especially against one of our most trusted allies.
4) I was very pleased with the outcome of the case [Canada (Prime Minister) v. Khadr, 2010 SCC 3,  1 SCR 44] because it affirmed that citizens have the right not have the information gathered from them by our governments agents in expectation of assistance NOT to be divulged to a foreign government and used against them. But given that whatever was disclosed could not be taken back, that the actual evidence was inconclusive in attributing guilt and that the court who weighted the evidence was outside the Supreme’s jurisdiction – it left a remedy up to the Governments discretion. The major benefit of this case is our government now has a clear understanding of boundary’s in divulging citizens confidential information to other governments.
Since an exchange of Diplomatic notes are not binding government decisions – no matter what Omar Khadr or his legal counsel claim to have thought – they should have been honest with their client and pointed that out. I don’t believe Norris and Bethell were present at Omar Khadr’s plea-bargain discussions – so I don’t think they can assume a return to Canada was the primary consideration. I would have thought the certainty of an 8 year sentence was about the same as the 16 years proposed by the prosecution given he had already spent 8 years in Gitmo detention. The choice to “repatriate” Omar Khadr is Canada’s decision alone – subject to the International Transfer of Offenders Act. It is not up to the Americans to promise something they can not deliver in a Plea Bargain.
5) It is indeed interesting to learn that these two lawyers are putting their talents to work in arguing another case of a admitted terrorist – Suresh Sriskandarajah – who was a member of the Tamil Tigers.
One could legitimately ask who exactly these two “Human Rights” Lawyers work for – the honest, law-abiding citizens of Canada or terrorists?
This article is typical of the self-serving effacement one finds when confronted with so-called “Human Rights” cases involving serious terrorists. Misdirection, half-truths, understatement of principles and selective recounting of historical facts.
It does not auger well for the Law Times to admit such sloppy articles to appear in it’s Journal. Nor does it enhance the fading reputation of Lawyers not to advocate a vigorous defense of the public’s right to safety and security from Terrorist organizations.
Stop Khadr Edmonton