Omar Khadr’s lawyer talks to the Canadian Press.
Meanwhile, Khadr’s lawyers told the Canadian Press that they are surprised by Toews’ statements regarding continuing concerns over the case. “We’re at a loss to understand why the government continues to demonize Omar and to stoke public opinion against him,” said lawyer John Norris. “We know him to be a kind, intelligent thoughtful young man who has tremendous potential and we know that he will live up to that.”
Norris said that the 26-year-old is happy to finally be back on Canadian soil. “He’s finding it hard to believe that this has finally happened,” Norris said after speaking to his client by phone. “His spirits are good. He is very, very happy to be home.”
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has released a statement.
“Omar Khadr’s return to Canada is long overdue. Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was a child soldier. It is extremely unfortunate that it took the Conservative government this long to fulfil its responsibility to bring him back to Canada.
Now Mr. Khadr will serve the remainder of his sentence under the supervision of the Canadian correctional system, and we can ensure that he receives proper treatment and rehabilitation.”
And a statement from the NDP’s Paul Dewar and Wayne Marston.
Today, the Conservatives ended nearly a decade of unnecessary delays and allowed Omar Khadr to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Canada. Canada is the last Western country to repatriate their citizens from the discredited Guantanamo prison system.
Mr. Khadr’s return to Canada was inevitable, yet the Conservatives chose to drag this process out for years at great cost to taxpayers. Their mishandling has hurt our relationship with the United States, our closest ally, and tarnished Canada’s reputation on the international stage.
Both the Supreme Court of Canada and the U.S. Supreme Court, based on the full facts of this case, have found that the military commission proceedings in Guantanamo violated both U.S. domestic law and Canada’s international human rights obligations.
Conservatives have previously faced court judgments against them for their mishandling of the case and failure to respect human rights.
The government should now allow Mr. Khadr to be handled by Canadian authorities in accordance with Canadian law, free from interference.