Omar Khadr
August 13, 2010 12:25 PM   Subscribe

 
The only people who seem to be interested in this angle are my other friends in international criminal / humanitarian law. No one in the USA seems to care, because no one in the USA cares about trying 15 year olds for murder, either.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:35 PM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Same observation here in Canada, 1adam12.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:39 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's utterly insane to try a 15-year-old child soldier for "murder" on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the Khadr clan are a uniformly reprehensible lot, and their behaviour seems to have really affected the way the Canadian media has reported on the younger Khadr's captivity.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:46 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like to believe that if we (in the US) had any control over our government this would not be happening, but I could say that about too many situations that we are responsible for at this point.

Tragedy indeed.
posted by -t at 12:48 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm more than a little upset that the Canadian government lets the US put this then-kid, now-man on trial in the US. Do we now only defend citizens overseas when it suits us?
posted by GuyZero at 12:53 PM on August 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think it's pretty insane to hold anyone in prison for 5 years without a trial, no matter how old they are.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:53 PM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


(really, 8 years - it's just that he had a faux arraignment in 2007)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:55 PM on August 13, 2010


Heck the Canadian government doesn't seem to care either - AFAIK, they never made any requests for Khadr to be repatriated and be put on trial in Canada.

What a cowardly government we have here. Whether or not he is guilty is irrelevant. Repatriate him and try him here (Canada). If he's found guilty then jail him. If he's not guilty, let him go. Stop covering your eyes and ears and let someone else deal with him.

You know, if he was repatriated as a 15-year-old, maybe there would have been some hope. Put him under some foster care in some community in Canada or in the US, that would show him that Westerners aren't the infidels he was taught they were.

Now, years later, this man is beyond repair. Think about all your experiences, positive and negative, between 15 and 22. How much they affected who you are today.

Lord knows what he went through at the hands of his captors and fellow prisoners.

I'm not defending his actions - maybe he was a cold-blooded killer then and will always be a cold-blooded killer - maybe he needs to stay in jail for a long, long time, but Cripes, we didn't even try. Here was an opportunity to perhaps save a young boy from going down the path of terror and instead we likely pushed him towards it full speed ahead.

Only God knows what kind of man he is now.
posted by bitteroldman at 12:57 PM on August 13, 2010 [25 favorites]


I find it hard to blame this administration -- because I expect nothing of them. They are cowardly, of course, and they are accurately reading the pulse of my countrymen in doing squat about this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:00 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nobody disputes that there should be consequences for a teenager who throws a grenade on a battlefield.
I dispute that. Sounds to me like a fairly standard military act. Assuming that Khadr did what he is accused of, I fail to see any terrorism involved. He attacked a military target, not a civilian target, and he did it openly. Sounds like war, not terrorism, to me.

You invade a foreign country the people there are going to fight back. That's why invading foreign countries isn't a good idea unless you really have to and why both of Bush's wars of choice were extremely bad ideas.
posted by sotonohito at 1:29 PM on August 13, 2010 [17 favorites]


Unfortunately, the Khadr clan are a uniformly reprehensible lot,

Really? Or is there something recent that I haven't read. Certainly his wiki page is a total hatchet job..
posted by Chuckles at 1:36 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects. "
-the 2010 decision by The Supreme Court ("SCC") unanimously.
the court of appeal in that issue.
the trial court in that issue.


"The process in place at Guantanamo Bay at the time Canadian officials interviewed K and passed on the fruits of the interviews to U.S. officials has been found by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the benefit of a full factual record, to violate U.S. domestic law and international human rights obligations to which Canada subscribes."
-The 2008 decision by a unanimous Supreme Court that the gov't had to disclose to Khadr's lawyers (almost) every bit of information they had.
the court of appeal in that issue.
the trial court in that issue.


***

If you're curious, the reason that it (the 2010 decision) isn't binding is because the government does have the right to conduct foreign policy as it sees fit, within reason. The 2010 decision by the SCC was a declaration (a very forceful one) that Khadr's rights were violated. It's then up to the government to act appropriately.

Here's the most recent case, it's only been at trial-level so far.

What the Canadian government did in response to the 2010 decision was to send a note to the US government, asking them not to use information provided by Canada [which was gained through torture] in their trial of Khadr. They explicitly ruled out asking for Khadr to be repatriated. (As is clear from the OP, the US declined to refuse using the information)

The trial court held that (roughly):
1) This is a new issue, and worthy of the court's attention [it's not the same thing as the 2010 SCC decision]
2) The fact that Canada violated Khadr's rights [by the interrogation] creates an ongoing duty for them to try and fix that violation, or if they can't, then mitigate it. Doing nothing is not valid if something can be done.
3) The government didn't act fairly, because they didn't give Khadr an opportunity for input into their response to the 2010 SCC decision.
4) Canada must remedy this. This need not be a request to the US for repatriation if the parties can agree on something else, but if other things fail, they have to try that.

However, a stay was ordered by the Court of Appeal last month, pending the outcome of the appeal.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:41 PM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Omar Khadr In his own words
Your honour I’m boycotting this Military Commission because *Firstly the unfairness and unjustice of it. I say this because not one of the lawyers I’ve had, or human rights organizations, or any person, every say that this commission is fair or looking for justice, but on the contrary they say it’s unfair and unjust and that it has been constructed to convict detainees, not to find the truth (so how can I ask for justice from a process that does not have it or offer it) and to accomplish political and public goals. And what I mean is when I was offered a plea bargain it was up to 30 years which I was going to spend only five years so I asked why the 30 years. I was told it makes the U.S. government look good in the public’s eyes and other political causes.
posted by adamvasco at 1:42 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the Khadr clan are a uniformly reprehensible lot,

Really? Or is there something recent that I haven't read. Certainly his wiki page is a total hatchet job..


This doesn't answer one way or the other, but:
Abdullah Khadr's extradition from Canada to the US was blocked last week. Due to mistreatment and violations of due process (although not 'torture').
I can't find the case, unfortunately. Apologies.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:47 PM on August 13, 2010


Bush's wars of choice were extremely bad ideas.

Doesn't theory say that the guy in charge now has the option of changing course?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:54 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's here, Lemurrhea.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:54 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


GuyZero: "I'm more than a little upset that the Canadian government lets the US put this then-kid, now-man on trial in the US. Do we now only defend citizens overseas when it suits us?"

Yes.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:54 PM on August 13, 2010


Now that the legal side is taken care of:

Khadr's situation is the shining example of the wretchedness that is Guantanamo and the War of Terror. On the US side, you're prosecuting a person who was a child, probably under the dangerous influence of his father from a young age, who was tortured and beaten to get the evidence, and is now being tried by the military, even though the grounds for holding him in Guantanamo and torturing him was that he wasn't a soldier. The hypocrisy of that move alone, changing his status to suit their needs, is enough to make it horrible. Let alone the actual torture.

On the Canadian side, our government has been sniveling little cowards in not trying to repatriate him after all the other Westerners had been rescued. Skirting the bare minimum of what the Supreme Court ordered is disgusting. I would say it's even worse, but well fundamentally the most important issue is a young man's safety, not separation of powers. But don't get me wrong, it's part of an attack on the Court. It's telling that the court gave both decisions per curiam (anonymously), which in Canada is meant to deal with controversial cases and lend weight to the decision. You'll note that 2 of the judges in the 2010 decision are Harper appointees. If I were more emotional, I'd wish that this could become an election issue.

Unfortunately, I know that if it were, it would only help the Conservatives. People are dicks.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:58 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bah. Thanks, Durn! How the hell did I miss that?
Oh wait, it's an Ontario case, of course it is. Stupid me.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:00 PM on August 13, 2010


because no one in the USA cares about trying 15 year olds for murder, either.

That's a nice broad brush you got there.
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:33 PM on August 13, 2010


To be fair, Nestor, The US has historically been particularly harsh on young offenders compared to other Western democracies. But as Durn pointed out, it's not much different in Canada for this case in particular (or more generally for people who like the simplistic "get tough on crime" approach favored by certain politicians).
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:07 PM on August 13, 2010


Omar Khadr’s lawyer collapsed in court. Trial delayed for at least a month.
posted by various at 3:43 PM on August 13, 2010


Omar Khadr’s lawyer collapsed in court

WTF.

Looks like a 'young man' in that photo. Why the collapse and transfer back to the mainland?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:04 PM on August 13, 2010


What exactly would the difference be between the legal status of a 15-year old Omar Khadr fighting against US troops in a war zone and the Afghan "fighters" on loan from warlords fighting beside US troops in the same battle? Would they also be "murderers" rather than soldiers?

And is the expectation, if you are unlucky enough to find yourself in the middle of a firefight against invading troops in a foreign country, that you just sit there and pray instead of fighting back? Are we to believe that there was a realistic expectation Omar Khadr would have been left alone by US troops? Apparently the soldiers who saw the grenade get thrown thought whoever threw it died because they were so badly injured. Sounds to me like if it was Omar that threw it he was pretty well fighting for his life. That is one of the few instances where I can actually see excusing the taking of another's life, so why is the charge "murder"?
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:24 PM on August 13, 2010


That is one of the few instances where I can actually see excusing the taking of another's life, so why is the charge "murder"?

Because the U.S. never ever expects to be subjected to the same standard it holds other to. If throwing a grenade at a military vehicle is murder, what is dropping a 500lb bomb on a wedding? Might as well call the Taliban a bunch of sherriffs deputies trying to bring a criminal wedding-bombing organization to justice.

When Attorney General Eric Holder announced last fall that he planned to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court in New York... But instead of subjecting the so-called "worst of the worst" to a military tribunal, this past week the Obama administration fired up the tribunal system to try Omar Khadr, a child soldier.

Whatever bright and shining future Obama is working towards better be worth the life a 15 year old boy who did what his father wanted him to do. The fact that Khadr is being tried in an essentially extra-legal military court for throwing a hand grenade on a battlefield was entirely the president's decision. There is no evidence that Obama made that decision for any reason other than political convenience, we should judge him accordingly.

Nobody disputes that there should be consequences for a teenager who throws a grenade on a battlefield.

The consequence is that the world most powerful military with highly trained soldiers and billion dollar weapons tries to turn you into a fine pink mist. How craven do you have to be to write this sentence, can't the Slate author really admit to what is happening here? It's an example of how throwing war crimes down the memory hole means we fight hard to get something wrong, like trying a teenager for throwing a hand grenade on a battlefield in a civilian court (murder? really?) to avoid something unconscionable: letting him be convicted by a kangaroo court using "evidence" obtained by torture.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:46 PM on August 13, 2010


Looks like a 'young man' in that photo. Why the collapse and transfer back to the mainland?

The Globe & Mail reported that his lawyer had recently had some form of emergency gallbladder surgery.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:50 PM on August 13, 2010



Usually I just read these stories, think to myself, "that's damn terrible and wrong" and move on to the next thread/story. But, and this is an honest question, what can or should a U.S. citizen do here?

What is the proper response? If that response is writing my representatives in Congress or the White House, would the fact that this is unlikely to change anything not matter, that I still have some of moral duty to do what I can? Or should I just publicize this in my immediate sphere of influence (friends, family, etc) and try to get them to see the injustice of it all?
posted by dealing away at 7:41 PM on August 13, 2010


That's a nice broad brush you got there.
You need a broad brush to paint the side of a barn.

I'm a criminal defense attorney. If I have to tell you about charging children as adults in the USA, then I'm not sure what to say. Some states start charging as young as 6 or 7. For federal crimes, a 10 year old is considered old enough to be charged with a crime. We are not in good company on this one. If people were so mad about it, it would have changed. It would be on the news. Instead, one of the main reasons we failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child is because we wanted to keep trying young children for crimes, and trying teenagers as though they were adults.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:44 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear Dennis:

I'm writing to you because sometimes there are things you can't say, but rather write on paper, and even if I were to tell you you won't understand. So anyway here are the things:

First : About this whole MC thing we all don't believe in and know it's unfair and know Dennis that there must be somebody to sacrifice to really show the world the unfairness, and really it seems that it's me. Know Dennis that I don't want that, I want my freedom and life, but I really don't see it coming from this way. Dennis you always say that I have an obligation to show the world what is going on down here and it seems that we've done every thing but the world doesn't get it, so it might work if the world sees the US sentencing a child to life in prison, it might show the world how unfair and sham this process is, and if the world doesn't see all this, to what world am I being released to? A world of hate, unjust and discrimination! I really don't want to live in a life like this. Dennis justice and freedom have a very high cost and value, and history is a good witness to it, not too far ago or far away how many people sacrificed for the civil right law to take affect. Dennis I hate being the head of the spear, but life has put me, and as life have put me in the past in hard position and still is, I just have to deal with it and hope for the best results.

Second: The thought of firing everybody as you know is always on my mind so if one day I stop coming or fire you please respect it and forget about me, I know it is hard for you. Just think about me as a child who died and get along with your life. Of course I am not saying that will or willn’t happen but its on my mind all the time.

Dennis. I’m so sorry to cause you this pain, but consider it one of your sons hard decisions that you don't like, but you have to deal with, and always know what you mean to me and know that I will always be the same person you've known me and will never change, and please don't be sad and be hopeful and know that there is a very merciful and compassionate creator watching us and looking out for us and taking care of us all, you might not understand these thing, but know by experience they have kept me how and who I am.

With love and my best wishes to you, and the family, and everybody who loves me, and I love them back in Canada, and I leave you with HOPE and I am living on it, so take care.

Your truly son,
Omar 26 May 2010 at 11:37am
P.

posted by eegphalanges at 10:59 PM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck You Mr De Mint and Fuck You Lindsay Graham

If people were so mad about it, it would have changed ^ What a truly horrible selfcentered apatheic country America has become.
I know you have good people over there but really WTF all the posturing Land of the Free bullshit is just that, posturing. Your venal politicians have squandered your wealth and your once moral superiority; and the majority of your neighbours went along for the ride. The rest of the world loaths you but has to live with you. The only people who can change this are yourselves. (/rant)
Looks like you all have to push back a bit harder against the man.

Nine years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri remain at large. Thus the world is shown not the mastermind of a heinous crime but a short-order cook and a 15-year-old child who offers credible evidence that he was tortured in U.S. custody.
posted by adamvasco at 11:39 PM on August 13, 2010


Why is it that we have to work against our own ends by making ourselves look like shit to the rest of the world?
posted by wierdo at 5:14 AM on August 14, 2010


I'm a strong supporter of the war. This though is just stupidity. Someone needs to take a close look at what is going on here.
posted by humanfont at 8:24 AM on August 14, 2010


I'm a strong supporter of the war

Great! Lets have an actual Congressional Declaration of War then. Like was done for WWII.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:17 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


in related News
The Amazing Disappearing and Reappearing CIA Torture Tapes
posted by adamvasco at 12:31 PM on August 17, 2010




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