Let me start by saying that I have been following this story since it broke back in 2002, and I have been more outraged by his treatment received from our government (both Liberal at first and then Conservative later) than the American government. For those who don’t know him, he was a 15-year old child soldier indoctrinated into al-Quaeda by his vile parents. During a skirmish with U.S. Forces in Afghanistan he was alleged to have killed an American soldier (Cpl. Christopher Speer). Omar was also critically injured during the fighting and was subsequently captured and shipped off to Gitmo. Omar was tortured by the CIA as well as tricked into false confessions by our own RCMP while he languished in prison without trial for years. His incarceration was in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Having said that it is true that he was at least partly responsible for the death of that soldier and did deserve to be punished, but not in that place and not by a U.S. military tribunal.
My anger about this case is not that an innocent man was punished but that he was a Canadian citizen that was being held without trial by a foreign government. As a Canadian he is OUR responsibility, and by allowing the U.S. to do all the dirty work our nation was allowing its sovereignty to be undermined. The moral and ethical thing that should have been done in the beginning would have been to have him transferred to Canada to stand trial for his crimes. Even though I am proud of my nation I will admit that we have a tendency to take the path of least resistance when it comes to complex moral dilemmas involving race or religion (see Maher Arar, Tomogatu Maru, Chinese Head Tax, Residential School System). We can now add this gormless decision to that list of infamy. And just like Maher Arar, I hope that Mr. Khadr takes the government to court and sues them blind, it’s the least that those weak-willed denizens of Parliament deserve.
I say to those who hate him or feel he is a traitor to our country; I respect your feelings but you must realize that we have a responsibility to repatriate and punish our own citizens. We should never allow other nations to do this for us, its immoral, unethical and just plain wrong.
For a more detailed overview of this case a good place to start is here: