Sunday, March 14, 2010

A deal in the works on Khadr's repatriation?

Newsweek had an interesting item this week, following up on that Canwest report earlier in the week about the U.S. whispering that they want Canada to repatriate Omar Khadr: "A Deal to Send Home a Canadian Gitmo Inmate?"
U.S. and Canadian government officials deny it, but the lawyer for one of the most controversial inmates at Guantánamo Bay says some members of the Obama administration are working on a possible plan to send his client home to Canada.

Nevertheless, Khadr's Washington-based defense lawyer, Barry Coburn, says he trusts recent Canadian media reports of a possible U.S. move to send Khadr home, such as a story circulated by the Canwest News Service. "I believe this report has substance to it," Coburn told Declassified in a telephone interview from Guantánamo, where military authorities are scheduled to begin hearings next month on defense motions seeking to have key elements of the prosecution's case against Khadr declared inadmissible. "I believe there is sensitivity in the U.S. government about not going through with this trial," he added, although he declined to say just who in the administration might be considering such a plan.
The rumours about a deal in the works come alongside new pressure from human rights groups on the Obama administration about the spectacle of the U.S. being the first western nation to bring a child soldier to trial in decades: "Letter to Holder and Gates urging repatriation of Omar Khadr." The letter references the Supreme Court of Canada's decision and argues that repatriation of Khadr to Canada is the appropriate next step.
In its recent judgment, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that a request for repatriation would be a logical and appropriate remedy for the Charter violations committed by Canadian officials against Omar Khadr. Negotiations toward eventual repatriation may be initiated by Canada or by the United States. The Supreme Court of Canada's judgment supplements Canada's international legal obligation to admit Khadr whenever the United States decides to repatriate him, with the additional legal stimulus that Khadr's repatriation would also remedy Canada's ongoing violations of his constitutional rights.
We urge you to drop all charges against Omar Khadr and repatriate him to Canada, or alternatively, to transfer him to US federal court for prosecution. The first trial in the discredited military commission system under President Obama should not be that of a child taken to a conflict zone by his family and subsequently mistreated for years in US detention.
What to make of more rumours, pressure being ratcheted up, who knows. Sure does seem like that Supreme Court of Canada decision has set something in motion though...