Omar Khadr, a child soldier detained without trial by US authorities since 2002

Re: Omar Khadr, a child soldier detained without trial by US authorities since 2002

To: Right Hon. Stephen Harper, PC, MP, Prime Minister of Canada, and others

From: Paul Copeland, Bencher and member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto; Gail Davidson, member of the Law Society of British Columbia, Vancouver; Leo McGrady Q.C., member of the Law Society of BC, Vancouver; Catherine Morris

Date: 2007-08-13

We are writing to urge your government to request that the United States government immediately repatriate Omar Khadr, a Canadian detained by US authorities at Guantánamo Bay since 2002 when he was 15 years of age. At that time he was acting as a child soldier in Afghanistan when he reportedly threw a grenade which killed a US officer.

We are disturbed that Mr. Khadr has been denied fundamental human rights under well established principles of customary international law. He has been denied access to due processes of justice. We even understand there are reports that US authorities have interfered with privileged communications between Mr. Khadr and his lawyer. We have been alarmed at reports that Omar Khadr has been mistreated and tortured while in US custody

It is reported that US authorities have no plans to release him. LRWC is considerably disturbed by continuing reports of inaction of the Canadian government in this matter. Your government reportedly has taken and plans to take no steps to seek Mr. Khadr’s repatriation from US detention. Canada’s lack of intervene on behalf of Mr. Khadr markedly departs from the conduct of other governments, such as the UK and Australia, both of which have intervened successfully to repatriate their citizens detained at Guantánamo Bay.

LRWC is of the view that the failure of the Canadian government to intervene to ensure the wellbeing and international human rights of a child of Canadian citizenship is unconscionable.

Therefore, LRWC strongly calls upon your government to take immediate steps to insist that Mr. Khadr be transferred to Canadian authorities and jurisdiction on an urgent basis. We also urge your government to insist that the US government provide Mr. Khadr with the full panoply of human rights protections afforded by customary international law. We also call upon you to take urgent steps to ensure that Omar Khadr’s health and wellbeing are safeguarded, that he is not tortured or mistreated in any way, and that he is given all medical and other treatment that he may require.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.