Peace Alliance Winnipeg is a signatory to a letter prepared by Lawyers Against the War demanding the immediate repatriation of Omar Khadr. The message below summarizes the position of over 200 individuals and groups representing thousands of Canadians and some people and groups from other countries. The complete letter, which is a damning indictment of American and Canadian governments, deserves to be widely read. Please do so, and contact your MP without delay.
From: “Lawyers Against The War”
Date: August 6, 2008 1:42:56 PM CDT (CA)
Subject: Canadians demand government action to secure Omar Khadr’s release from Guantanamo Bay and repatriation to Canada: Reply requested.Attention Members of Parliament;
Re: Canada must act to secure Omar Khadr’s release from Guantánamo Bay and repatriation to Canada. Canada has a duty to act and failure to act within the known circumstances is an offence: July 30, 2008 Letter Re: Omar Khadr (letter can be accessed at this link).
Please advise us what action you are taking to secure the release and repatriation of Omar Khadr.
On August 5, 2008, the US repeated its claim, (first made on November 13, 2001) to detain possibly forever, any non-American dubbed arbitrarily as an enemy combatant, irrespective of court or tribunal decisions. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell announced on August 5/08 that even detainees who have been tried and acquitted by the Military Commissions Act (MCA) tribunals will continue to be detained at Guantánamo Bay prison as enemy combatants. Omar Khadr has already been named an enemy combatant.
Canada’s legal duty to act immediately to protect the rights of Omar Khadr and thereby uphold international law, has been triggered by overwhelming evidence of US violation of international laws–evidence that establishes that US criminal wrongdoing includes violations of Omar Khadr’s non-derogable rights:
- freedom from torture (e.g. extreme sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation, rape threats);
- freedom from prosecution for ex post facto offences (all the charges against Khadr were created more than 4 years after he was captured); and,
- the right to an independent and impartial judge or tribunal. (MCA judges are directly accountable to the US executive and are therefore not independent by any legal standard. The May/08 summary dismissal of Peter Brownback, from the Khadr case for ruling against the prosecution demonstrates the lack of independence and violation of law.)
The July 30, 2008 Letter Re: Omar Khadr has been signed by over 200 individuals and groups representing thousands of Canadians and some people and groups from other countries. (see pp. 8 to 12) The people calling on the government of Canada to adhere to the law and take immediate and effective remedial action, are from many vocations/avocations: lawyers and peace activists, writers and printmakers, filmmakers and musicians, nurses and physicians, factory and office workers, trade unionists and business operators, students and retired people, scholars and teachers, psychologists and social workers… Groups signing the letter represent a similarly wide range of knowledge and expertise: e.g. Lawyers against the War (Can), National Lawyers Guild (US), Dutch Lawyers for Peace (The Netherlands), BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BC), Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Assoc. (ON), Canadian Centre for Torture Victims (ON) and Réseau du Forum social de Québec (QC).
We look forward to a reply from you that responds to the concerns set out in our July 30, 2008 letter. We also invite your signature. The letter was first sent July 30, 2008. The only MP to reply to date has been Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East.
Please email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 604 736 1175 or mail to 3220 W. 13th Avenue, Vancouver BC V6K 2V5 or phone to 604 738 0338.
Gail Davidson for LAW and others signing the letter.
Lawyers Against the War
Tel: +1 604 738-0338
Fax: +1 604 736-1175