Omar Ahmed Khadr v. Prime Minister of Canada

Federal court judge rules Canada must advocate for Khadr’s repatriation


Federal court judge rules Canada must advocate for his repatriation.

“Canada had a duty to protect Mr. Khadr from being subjected to any torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, from being unlawfully detained, and from being locked up for a duration exceeding the shortest appropriate period of time. In Mr. Khadr’s case, while Canada did make representations regarding his possible mistreatment, it also participated directly in conduct that failed to respect Mr. Khadr’s rights, and failed to take steps to remove him from an extended period of unlawful detention among adult prisoners, without contact with his family … Mr. Khadr has very clearly been deprived of his liberty and Canadian agents are involved in that deprivation.”

Full ruling here.


Omar Ahmed Khadr v. Prime Minister of Canada

  1. v. Chretien, shurely!

    • Change that channel!

    • I was all set to say it was likely against the Crown generally, but a quick word search looks like he specifically takes issue with a specific statement by Harper that nothing would be done to secure his release. I’ve by no means looked at it carefully yet, but it looks well worth reading.

      • the events of which Khadr complains of go back to 2002 and were dire by 2004. But since he’s asking for an order that a request be made to bring him back, and the person in charge of that looks to be Harper, Harper’s name appears.

  2. Some Law and Order Agenda, hey Harper? It should renamed the Law and Order except Human Rights Law Agenda.

    • hear here!

  3. I’m pleased to see the courts believe in due process and the rule of law even if Harper doesn’t.

    QP should be lively today.

  4. Any bets that this ruling will be appealed?

    • Of course the COns will appeal. I’m sure Harper will take it all the way to the Supreme Court if he has to (presuming he’ still in government by that time) before he’s finally forced to do that.

      Besides, this ruling has potential repercussions for the other court case coming up involving Abousfian Abdelrazik, whose lawyers will be arguing close to the same arguments that Khadr’s lawyers have – namely that Canada has violated their clients rights by refusing to allow him back into the country.

      • I wonder if (hope that?) a Liberal Government would appeal it as well. Despite the fact that I disagree with the Conservatives on this, I think the government should always bring questions of prerogative to the highest court to clarify.

        I think the right thing to do in this case would be to ask the US to return Khadr, and simultaneously appeal the decision so that executive responsibility and prerogative is clear for the future.

        • I think this is a valuable point, esp. provided this concurrent approach is taken.

        • Good point re: prerogrative. Although, if the gov’t appeals and loses, then precedent has been set regarding limits to that prerogative. If they don’t appeal at all, then no restriction will have been set in (legal) stone.
          I think Khadr should be repatriated, but I think the point of prerogative is a good one and somewhat separate. They’ll have to look at their options and weigh the probabilities.

          • The precedent has been set by this decision. It is a significant enough issue that it deserves further judicial review. Whatever the merits of whether Mr. Khadr should be repatriated or not, the question of the boundary between the courts and the prerogative is something that does deserve a fuller discussion than this case gives it.

  5. It is bloody well about time.
    The Canadian Government has shown abysmal behavior against/toward O. Khadr.

    • Here’s hoping he ends up being your neighbour, then.

      • I know avr, it’s terrible having Arabs as neighbours isn’t it!

        • Arab has nothing to do with it. It’s about neighbours who spend their free time in terrorist training camps. Not exactly the type of people you want your kids hanging aroung with.

          • He was a kid himself when he was spending his “free time in terrorist training camps.”

          • A kid who was brainwashed and compelled to go there by his father, There was no free time about it sf. Khadr deserves to be rehabilitated under the UN Conventions of Laws of the Child (which Canada is a signatory of) – Canada failed to do this .. and the judge also noted that.

            For all that conservatives harp that they believe in the rule of law.. they have a strange case of wanting to always disregard rules of law that they find inconvenient.

          • Yeah, brainwashed. So how do you know you’re not brainwashed yourself?

  6. The US can still say no.

  7. It’s about freakin’ time.
    Now the question is: Will the ruling be honoured?

    • Why would such ridiculous hogwash be honoured? This is a judge who considers himself Superman. I’d rather see the judge fired.

      • The law is the law, sf. I know you Conservative types would like to ignore any judicial ruling that you dislike.. but that’s not how it works.

        • Since there is little logic to this ruling, I’d expect it to be overturned quite easily on appeal.

  8. Time to recall all the “Bon Voyage, But…” brochures about the limits to which Canadian diplomats can assist Canadian citizens incarcerated outside the borders of Canada. Time to put in several asterisks in all the right places, with the footnote “unless Justice O’Reilly tells us to perform additional likely ineffectual representations to the foreign power detaining you.”

    If I read the judgement (well, the precedent cited by the judgement) right, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect you outside Canada, nor must it compel/limit Canadian government foreign-relations behaviour, UNLESS a Canadian judge deems that Canada has violated international law. Then it can be judicially ordered to abide by the Charter. Is it me, or does that line of reasoning seem, well, quirky?

    I know judges don’t feel terribly constrained by real-world practicalities, but I have two other thoughts for the Justice to ponder after-the-fact:

    (1) Access to family contact: Judge, take a peek at THIS family: You said over and over again that juvenile detainees must not be abused. Why are you citing LACK of access to this family as abuse? Seems more like protection to this observer. Remind me again who sent him over there to wage jihad, and who publicly celebrated his, um, achievements even after detention? Don’t give me family access arguments in this case, please. Unless you want to convince most Canadians that his near-and-dear belong there with him.

    (2) Just how do you see the government complying with this order?

    M Wilson: Ahem, Ms. Clinton (looks down to read aloud the printed text on the card): In conformity with our court order to more forcefully defend the rights of Mr. Omar Khadr, Canadian citizen currently incarcerated in Guan–
    H Clinton: Yes, Michael, several agencies were wondering who you’d come to first. Actually, you should go knock on the door of the Pentagon. Have a nice day!

    M Wilson: Ahem, Good Day, Mr. Defense Secretary (looks down to read aloud the printed text on the card). In conformity with our court order to more forcefully defend the rights of Mr. Omar Khadr, Canadian citizen currently incarcerated in Guan–
    R Gates: Hello Michael! The United States is greatly appreciative of Canada’s contributions in southern Afghanistan. Any news on those CF-18’s coming over to help? Sure could use ’em. Anyway, I know you’ve got this thing you’re required to do. My secretary has already prepared the letter attesting that you came by. Mary, can you bring me the Operation Maple-Leaf-Dog-and-Pony file? Thanks. Here you go. Hope that helps settle down your little judge, Michael. Ask Mary for a parking voucher if you need one of those, too. Have a nice day!

    • “Is it me, or does that line of reasoning seem, well, quirky?”

      There is no reason in that reasoning. It’s completely absurd.

    • Actually, all it’s asking for is for Canada to actively seek the repatriation of Khadr. It’s not really that hard — all other western nationals have been repatriated by their respective countries. The US would likely be happy to see him go — one less prisoner to deal with.

      As far as Canada’s responsibility towards Khadr, it’s important to remember that the judge found that the Government of Canada was active and complicit in abuse of Khadr. The court has recently clarified that the Government must be equal in our treatment of imprisoned Canadians facing punishment we do not allow no matter their circumstances (hence the Government’s requirement to work to repatriate some folks on death row). This follows.

      And Bon Voyage, But… does say that the Government will work to help you, but they may not be successful. The trick in this case is the Government is *not* working to help, and that’s all that the judge has ordered.

    • Yup, in international affairs the Charter has extremely limited application where international obligations are being met. When they’re clearly being flaunted (as they unarguably were at Gitmo) a Canadian citizen can rely on it to petition his own government to protect his Charter rights, especially when they’re closely related to existing international laws regarding child protection and not torturing people.

      Quite frankly, I have very little problem with this.

      The separation from family stuff is interesting to some extent. If the only violation had been forced separation from family it’s unlikely the case would have been made out. The judge here is obviously far more concerned about the torture. It is cause for concern, though, especially in the context of ignoring international obligations. The trial judge doesn’t appear particularly concerned about the details of what would have been appropriate in order to achieve proper compliance, since obviously nothing was done. I’m not concerned either.

      Indeed the U.S. may not comply with a request, Canada may even ask or make it clear they don’t want it to be complied with. It depends to what extent Harper is willing to follow the law. I doubt anything will happen to him if he ignores it. But it seems kinda small minded to get all huffy about being ordered to make a minimal effort in these circumstances, though.

  9. “…it also participated directly in conduct that failed to respect Mr. Khadr’s rights…”

    By sending down DFAIT officials on welfare visits, and CSIS agents to interview him about what other Al Qaeda sympathizers might be running around in Canada? Please.

    Khadr’s youth, and the mistreatment of Khadr by the US may argue for intervention by Canada, but to suggest that Canadian officials somehow participated in it is patently ridiculous and not supported by the facts, notwithstanding the unusual version of history recounted by this judge.

    • It’s more that they were aware he was being tortured by sleep deprivation and didn’t do anything about it.

      • That would be, of course, the previous government, not the current one.

        • When you’re suing the Government of Canada or an office of the Government of Canada, it’s handled by the current holder of the office.

          It’s the only way any court case could ever get completed — cabinets shift all too often, and a Minister or Prime Minister can not, and should not, be held accountable by the courts for every decision made by the Government (or Government staff) during their time. Otherwise the Public Safety Minister would be legally responsible for Robert Dziekanski’s death, etc.

          • That is Stockwell Day would have been personally legally responsible for Robert Dziekanski’s death, as he was Public Safety minister at that time.

            No one sane would ever take office if the legal responsibility of everything done under their watch landed in their personal lap.

          • I’m not disputing that principle at all. You are, of course, correct. Mr. Goodale and his ilk, however, are a little less clear on their own responsibility for this matter, as is Mr. Wherry, who appears to beleive that Mr. Khadr’s plight is exclusively the fault of the current government. As the Federal Court found, however, the Charter breaches of which Mr. Khadr complains were all committed under the previous government’s time in office. His only complaint against the current government is that they have not provided a remedy for those earlier problems by bringing him “home” (although his connection to Canada was pretty sporadic for most of his life in the period before his arrest.)

            One course of action may be to simply ask the US government to “return” Mr. Khadr while also appealing the Federal Court decision, which does raise some novel issues that deserve fuller judicial consideration.

    • No we didn’t participate – we just took the boy a big mack and told him we were looking out for him. With friends like that who needs enemies!

      • Oops no k in big mac is there? Cultural illiterate that i am.

        • You thinking it was short for mackarel, right?

          • Mmmm…

            Two all-chub patties,
            special sauce, lettuce, cheese
            pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun
            Big Mack!

  10. By the testimony of his family and the evidence of the video tapes Omar is a war criminal who violated the Geneva conventions and the laws of Canada by fighting as a mercenary. He should have been extradited to stand trial in Canada years ago.
    The truth is that actually enforcing international law is just to politically inconveniet. Easier to fret about the evil US.

    We are such sanctimonous hypocrites.

  11. This is a big waste of Canadian resources. The Canadian Supreme Court should be focusing on the Immigration policies that allow his terrorist supporting family to obtain a Canadian passport in the first place.
    Ask the Honorable justice if/when this accused murder is released, will he be accepted into his community and live next door to the justice’s family? Spreading his version of Islam to the Justices grandchildren?
    I do not want this kid released into my community, matter not his rehab. His father killed American Soldiers and brought his son with him, besides great parenting skills and the good Canadian Morals that we hold dear which makes us Canadian, that his father failed to teach his son. Is he truely Canadian or just cause someone holds a Canadian Passport that automatically make him Canadian? How did he come to our Great Nation to get a passport for his family and be able to leave to go to Afganastan to fight the American Military. Was the person responsible for sponsoring the father to Canada fully knowledgable that he was supporting such facist beleifs? Or was he a refugee? Either case his passport and citizenship should have been revoked the minute he re-entered Afganastan or at least suspended.
    That is type of questions the Supreme Court should be focusing on, the Immigtration Policies that weaken our system of Government and cost Canadian Tax Payers.
    Why was Omar Kadar in Afganistan in the first place? Should we will give him a bag of money and he and his 7th Century thinking family will move next door to the Justice.
    I can see it now Canada becoming lobbied for Sharia Law like in Britin.

    • It’s a darned good thing that this ruling wasn’t from the Supreme Court then, eh?

      • When our Great PM appeals the FEDERAL COURT ruling, eventually it will end up tabled into the Supreme Court all being a waste of Canadian resources. That is one of my points, the escalation and abuse of our legal system has been wasting our resources that could be used for more pressing issues. All at a cost to EVERY Canadian not just cause they hold a passport.
        Country first, Religon second.
        This accused murderer, if truely Canadian he would not have been in Afganastan in the first place.
        Why did the family move to Canada? Was it to escape or invade? Think about it.
        They are enjoying the freedoms of being Canadian yet not teaching their children good morals not killing American soliders. Why did they come here just to go back and fight for the exterimsts.
        Makes no sense.

        • This accused murderer, if truely Canadian he would not have been in Afganastan in the first place.

          How much control over your own actions did you have at the age of 14? Did you have the ability to stay at home when your parents insisted you go abroad?

          Okay then.

          And you don’t think questions of executive prerogative should go before the highest court and not be decided by a lower court judge?

          But you want the government to keep him out — what do you suggest, the Government ignore a court order?

          • Yes when matters of National Security is involved.
            Please read this and tell me that this family should be afforded our Canadian Rights and Freedoms when they teach this to their children Please respond:

            The complexity of the Khadr case is heightened by his upbringing as the youngest in a family of al-Qaeda sympathizers who considered religious martyrdom, including being a suicide-bomber, as a supreme calling. Omar’s father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an associate of Osama bin Laden and a reputed financier of al-Qaeda operations. He was killed in October 2003 by Pakistani forces. One of Omar’s older brothers, Abdullah Khadr, is in jail in Toronto and is fighting a U.S. extradition request for alleged terrorism-related crimes.

            A Rolling Stone article says Omar’s father used to tell his children, “If you love me, pray that I will get martyred.” He urged his sons to be suicide-bombers, saying it would bring “honour” to the family. He allegedly warned his son Abdurahman, “If you ever betray Islam, I will be the one to kill you.”

            The Khadr family moved to Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1988, when Omar was two. Four years later, in 1992, Omar’s father, Ahmed, nearly was killed when he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan. Ahmed and his family returned to Toronto, but when Ahmed recovered, the Khadr family returned to Pakistan and soon found themselves back in Afghanistan, where they lived in a large compound with bin Laden.

            The U.S. government says this was about the time Omar and his older brothers, Abdullah and Abdurahman, attended a military camp that provided instruction on handguns, assault rifles, bomb-making and combat tactics. Omar was 14 on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the U.S.


            Is he Canadian or just have a Canadian Passport?

          • Are you saying that Omar Khadr should be denied Canadian citizenship because his father killed people and forced his 14 year old son into a terrorist training camp?

            Or are you saying that you think citizenship should be removed from those people you personally find unpalletable?

            Just trying to ascertain what ridiculous argument you’re trying to make so that I can mock you better.

          • That’s what I like about Scott M… Always striving to do better…

        • You are an idiot. The Supreme Court is the most important institution we have. If you have no interest in living in a just society with all that it costs in resources then move to Cuba or a Faciest state. It is most likely Omar is NOT GUILTY! See the old 5th Estate Doc. Truly shocking!!

    • Omar Kadar should stay out of Canada and let the US treat him as a murderer and no less. If ever Kadar brought back to this country he should be tried for treason and him and all his family professed Islamist militants should be deported back to Pakistan where they came from. In the first place our Canadian government failed to let these terrorist in this country. Go back to your own country and blow your heads off.

  12. One more thing Scott, before your febile attempts at mockery, have you seen the tapes of Omar Khadrs mother showing praises for her son killing an American solider? And the bragging that she continuesly does in favor of death to all Westerners?
    She came here as a refugee while pregnant a loophole in Canadian Immigration policy and was granted status. Because she has so many children with the same guy who hated Canada and trained his children to hate. She has never worked or paid taxs she is on social asstiance.
    He MUST be tried in the US by The US and under Obama I am confident he will receive a fair trial. Canadian Judges do not dictate the Elected Government.
    Go read the comments from the Toronto Star or any of the dailies, you will see majority of Canadians think he should be tried in America and when all is said and done upon the completion of his sentance if given one, then his return to Canada to receive the rehab we so graciously offered.
    Let’s not loose sight of the fact he is charged with MURDER, we don’t let people who murder Canadians in Canada go home to serve the sentance whats different.

  13. It is frightening to me that in January 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada did say "we conclude that the appropriate remedy is to declare that, on the record before the Court, Canada infringed Mr. Khadr's s. 7 rights, and to leave it to the government to decide how best to respond to this judgment in light of current information, its responsibility for foreign affairs, and in conformity with the Charter." I can see the bGovernment is basicly thumbing its nose at the Supreme Court and done NOTHING to insure Khjadr's charter rights or the rights he had as "A child soldier" under international law.

    We should not convict people because we do not like the relatives. In any case, who asked us to go there? Iraqies?, NO. Aphganies?, NO, It was the USA! More civilians, by far, have been killed via our actions than all the troop losses combined. I confess, If it were my relatives, friends and neighbors being slaughtered for "My own good", I would not be able to contain my rage. Especially given that the Iraq and Aphgan deaths are to unimportant to count! So we refuse to count them.

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