By Letter to the Editor on February 9, 2019.
Re: “Khadr settlement absurd,” Feb. 2
Omar Khadr under international law is a child soldier. Children being of the most vulnerable population, are treated differently during armed conflict whether victims and/or combatants.
At age 15, Mr. Khadr suffered grave injuries during a firefight with the U.S. military at the time of his capture in Afghanistan. American witnesses have stated on the record that he was not responsible for the death of Christopher Speer. Notwithstanding, Omar Khadr pled guilty as it was his only way to escape Guantanamo after languishing there for 10 years in violation of international law. Instruments of which Canada and the U.S. are signatories.
I am outraged that a child was subject to such heinous war crimes of indoctrination, conscription, torture, and administrative detention. I am further concerned that Canadian officials ignored the rights of Mr. Khadr in contravention of our domestic laws as well.
In spite of his ordeal, Mr. Khadr has bonded with his lawyer’s family while pursuing life with purpose in Canada. That Mr. Khadr has been subject to several civil suits in which much of those funds have paid or will pay his legal bills, along with the psychological counselling and other health issues, he has hardly won a windfall. Mr. Khadr never asked for this notoriety, nor chose the path of which became his life. The $10.5 million compensation also came with a government apology for wrong-doing as well.
To further read, “So, Canada is still having trouble with Omar Khadr — or vice versa. Why not let him go to Saudi Arabia and stay there?” blames the victim and exposes deep-rooted racism. Mr. Khadr is neither Saudi or a descendant of Saudi heritage nor a follower of Wahhabism nor an individual causing trouble. He was born in Canada; therefore, he is a Canadian citizen like you Charmaine Wood, his heritage is inconsequential. Omar Khadr has complied to the letter with his bail conditions including serving time in a Canadian penitentiary. He has the right to request changes in his restrictions.
Mr. Khadr’s parents are primarily responsible for his ordeal, along with the Canadian officials who abandoned him. Instead of rebuking Mr. Khadr as a tool to deny his victimization, seek some understanding to prevent it from ever happening again. Rebuke our government for their treatment of a Canadian citizen who as a child became subject to violations of international law; laws that all of us receive protection as per the International Committee of the Red Cross – the Paris Principles, UN-CRC, and the 4th Geneva Conventions.
Mr. Khadr’s religion of Islam in a majority Christian country is irrelevant. However, we all pray to the same God, and we all respect the same prophets including Jesus Christ whose message was to act with kindness, respect, and truth regardless of circumstances. What is absurd Ms. Wood is to allow one child to suffer even one minute of such a fate.
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