The Canadian legal system has failed to bring justice. Omar Khadr a 15 year old Canadian boy was captured by the US military forces after a firefight in Afghanistan during which he was severely wounded. He was accused of allegedly killing an American soldier and was detained at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, before his transfer to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States military located in Cuba.
Prior to his interrogations, Omar Khadr was subjected to torture and various types of mistreatment, including systematic sleep deprivation. He was also forced into painful stress positions, threatened with rape, hooded, and confronted with barking dogs. What’s more shocking is the fact that US government witnesses confirmed some of this treatment during pre-trial hearings, testifying that Khadr was tortured through sleep deprivation and was interrogated while strapped down on a stretcher just 12 hours after sustaining his life-threatening injuries and threatened with rape if he did not cooperate. Is this the type of treatment a child soldier deserves to receive under the custody of the great US, which is supposedly one of the world’s most civilized nations? Unfortunately, the US is not the only one to blame when it comes to denying the rights of Omar Khadr. The ugly truth is that Omar Khadr’s home country refused to take immediate actions for him and became blind towards the obligations to protect him.
The Canadian government needs to stand up for justice. First of all, the Canadian government needs to recognize the fact that it has horribly failed to protect the rights of its own citizen. Secondly, the Canadian government owes Omar Khadr many precious years of his life and needs to pay for the damages. The government also needs to owe up to its obligations towards Omar Khadr’s rehabilitation and take severe measures to help him step back into a normal life. Most importantly, the government needs to incorporate new legislation into Canadian and possibly even international law, which strictly protect individuals from becoming victimized by the flaws of our legal system. The heartbreaking truth about Omar Khadr’s case is that his trial the US military tribunal was as ridiculous as it was tragic. In order to escape the black-hole called Guantanamo, Khadr had no other choice than to accept a plea deal. This made Omar Khadr the first child soldier in modern history to be found guilty of war crimes. Upon his return to Canada after surviving three thousand, six hundred and twenty one days in Guantanamo Bay, Omar Khadr is still held in solitary confinement, which can be considered a form of torture on its own. What type of justice does our legal system portray when we turned blind towards the rights of our own citizen and openly allowed other so called “civilized” nations to incarcerate, beat and torture him for over a decade?
Omar Khadr is an extraordinary young man. Despite all the physical and psychological traumas he has gone through over the past decade, he still looks forward towards the future. John Norris, one of Khadr’s lawyers in Canada quotes "We're at a loss to understand why the government continues to demonize Omar and to stoke public opinion against him. We know him to be a kind, intelligent and thoughtful young man, who has tremendous potential and we know that he will live up to that".
For those of us that carry a heart and are not blind towards the truth may already be petrified from the fact that we can not give justice to Omar Khadr for what he has already lost. However, we do have the power to finally lend him a hand. A hand he has desperately longed for, a hand of trust, a hand of security, a hand of freedom and above all, a hand of justice.
Please sign this petition and take a stand for justice.
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