Canada: Release and Repatriation of Omar Khadr | Letter

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper
The Honourable Attorney General Robert Nicholson,
The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs David Emerson,
The Honourable Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay

Dear Honourable Members:

Release and repatriation of Omar Khadr, Canadian citizen imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay.

Lawyers Against the War and the undersigned, call on the government of Canada:

  • a. to secure the immediate release from Guantánamo Bay and the repatriation to Canada of
    Omar Khadr; and,
  • b. to conduct investigations of violations of Khadr’s internationally protected rights by U.S.
    and Canadian officials and ensure the appropriate civil and criminal remedies.

Canada has a legal duty to provide diplomatic protection to Omar Khadr: a duty triggered by knowledge, confirmed by recent judgments of both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court, that Omar Khadr’s internationally protected rights have been violated by the U.S., coupled with incontrovertible evidence that the U.S. continues to violate Khadr’s internationally protected rights and to deny access to remedies under U.S. and international law.

The length of time that Khadr has been subjected to internationally wrongful acts by U.S. officials and denied access to the protection of U.S. and international law mandates the immediate release from U.S. custody and repatriation to Canada as the only appropriate remedies.

Your office and other Canadian officials have refused to seek Omar Khadr’s release and repatriation despite the advice and urgings of Amnesty International, UNICEF, Lawyers Against the War, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, the Canadian Bar Association and hundreds of Canadian jurists, social justice advocates and Members of Parliament and the NDP.

In the light of such knowledge, failure and/or refusal by Canadian officials to act immediately to ensure the cessation and investigation of violations of Khadr’s internationally protected rights and to provide access to appropriate civil and criminal remedies constitutes a violation of international and Canadian law.