July 17th, 2024

Terrorism should have consequences

By Letter to the Editor on July 25, 2017.

Re: “In Khadr case, pragmatism comes at a cost,” July 15

My debate is not with the innocence or guilt of Mr. Khadr, but with the failure to act of both our Liberal and Conservative governments.

Growing up in a family of avowed terrorists, CSIS along with the Canadian government should have had little to no trouble in labeling Omar and his immediate family as Muslim extremists with terrorist ties to al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. If his father wasn’t a terrorist how did Omar get brainwashed?

It should surprise no one that Ahmed (the father) was allowed Canadian citizenship in 1975 by the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government after being denied entry into the United States.

Khadr’s actions in the 2002 firefight that killed Speer have not been tested by any court in Canada, and his American appeal is not yet complete. He has not been exonerated — he’s simply out on bail.

Notwithstanding his Canadian citizenship, we must not forget that Khadr was an enemy combatant. Despite recanting his confession of killing Speer (he now says he doesn’t know whether he did it), Khadr was undeniably on the battlefield, and and is also on video constructing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) — technology responsible for the deaths of 97 Canadians.

Whether Khadr’s devices killed any of them we’ll never know, but he was making deadly weapons. Surely he didn’t think it was simply an al-Qaeda arts and crafts project. He should be treated as a defector and charged with treason — an offense without a statute of limitations, I’d remind Canada’s attorney general.

Canada’s criminal code says anyone who “assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are” is guilty of high treason, which carries a life sentence.

Canada’s mission in Afghanistan began in October of 2001, making the United States’ enemies our own as well.

According to testimony from lawyer Howard Anglin, speaking before the House of Commons’ international human rights subcommittee in 2008, Khadr was not a child soldier under international law, and his military tribunal was conducted in accordance with Geneva Convention standards.

Anglin cited a claim from Khadr’s own former military lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler, that no law or treaty prevents prosecution of minors for war crimes.

Former United Nations human rights prosecutor David Crane agreed, saying it was a matter of prosecutorial discretion.

“Pragmatism comes at a cost.” No Mr. Mueller. Terrorism, hate, murder and treason should all have consequences!

Leslie Maltin

Medicine Hat

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