Handle with care - Macleans.ca

Handle with care


Ronald Crelinsten says Omar Khadr must be handled with care. Postmedia talks to War Child’s Samantha Nutt. Sheema Khan says Omar Khadr will be a test of our ability to rehabilitate child soldiers.

Omar was incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay as its youngest inmate, subjected to torture, mind games and denied counsel for his first two years of detention. Ten years later, he is back in Canada after the grudging acceptance of a plea deal by our government. Omar is also the last Western detainee to be repatriated (all of whom have a 0 per cent recidivism rate). By all accounts, Omar fits the description of a child soldier, as defined by the Optional Protocol. Why have Canada and the U.S. ignored their treaty obligations?

Once a terrorist, always a terrorist, some believe. In their minds, Omar is a traitor who cannot change. They are willfully blind to successful rehabilitation programs of child soldiers.


Handle with care

  1. “Omar is also the last Western detainee to be repatriated (all of whom have a 0 per cent recidivism rate).”

    Once Khadr’s out of jail, I am sure his new neighbours will be delighted to have a convicted terrorist who committed treason against Canada living next door.

    Reuters March 2012:

    The proportion of militants released from detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay who subsequently were believed to have returned to the battlefield rose slightly over the last year, according to official figures released on Monday.In a summary report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity.

    • We should be careful not to compare apples and oranges. The figures cite detainees in Guantanamo Bay, which I imagine doesn’t have much of a rehabilitation program. It probably only serves to further strengthen the anti-American resolve in the terrorists’ minds.
      I don’t know what kind of rehabilitation programs are offered in Canadian prisons, if any. But it will certainly be interesting to see if Khadr is truly rehabilitated after serving time here, or not.

      • His circumstances are unique by Canadian standards. As a rule we don’t take young teenagers and hold them for 10 years in an unconstitutional manner. We had the opportunity to fix this situation earlier and decrease the chances of something bad happening, but we didn’t take them and now some people want to use that an excuse for more punishment however, which is insane.

      • “…….We should be careful not to compare apples and oranges…..”
        I don’t get it?
        Apples and oranges are both about the same size. They are both spherical in shape. They both grow on trees; on farms. They are both picked by Niagara/Rio Grande River Wet-backs They are both green when immature. They both can be eaten and/or juiced. Granted, a day without one reduces planetary solar energy input and the other can repel a doctor, but still, youse Canadians sure do use some funny, counter-intuitive idioms.

  2. From Toews’ statement the other day: “I am satisfied the Correctional Service of Canada can administer Omar Khadr’s sentence in a manner which recognizes the serious nature of the crimes that he has committed and ensure the safety of Canadians is protected during incarceration.”

    This is just the latest example of right-wing fearmongering about terror suspects/convicts. I still find it jaw-droppingly stupid. Khadr isn’t a criminal mastermind, and he doesn’t have superpowers. I’m confident the Canadian prison system can contain him.