Target: Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney
Goal: Allow ex-Guantanamo inmate to be transferred to a provincial jail, where he may be eligible for early release
A provincial court recently ruled to transfer Omar Khadr, an ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate imprisoned since he was only fifteen years old. The Alberta Court of Appeal unanimously voted that Khadr should be serving a youth sentence in a provincial jail, rather than in the federal prison to which he was transferred upon his return to Canada. The Canadian government, however, plans to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court of Canada, and Khadr’s transfer has been delayed until then.
Toronto-born Khadr was taken into American custody at the age of fifteen after being accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US medic. Since then, he has been denied necessary medical care, subjected to torturous enhanced interrogation measures, and treated as an adult his entire time in prison, before being returned to Canada in 2012.
Canadian officials are trying to keep Khadr from being allowed to serve a youth sentence in a provincial jail because he pleaded guilty to war crimes while in harsh military prisons. While he may have pleaded guilty, pressure from interrogators and the hope of returning home could have elicited a false confession from the young and desperate boy. Khadr, who cannot serve his sentence in a youth facility due to his age, could instead be transferred to a provincial jail to serve a lesser sentence than the eight additional years he currently faces.
Omar Khadr’s possible involvement in the murder of a US military member does not warrant the treatment he has endured in Guantanamo Bay. The Canadian government has shown little regard to what happened to Khadr upon his repatriation to Canada, and has carried out a sentence imposed by US officials without regard to Canadian youth sentence laws. Your signature will demand that Khadr’s transfer be immediately allowed, giving him an earlier chance at release.
Dear Mr. Steven Blaney,
The Canadian government has announced that it plans to fight a ruling to transfer ex-Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr to a provincial jail. According to a statement, he lost that right when he pleaded guilty to accusations of war crimes committed as a youth.
According to experts from Guantanamo Bay, Khadr is respectful toward guards and fellow inmates and shows a high potential to be successfully reintegrated into Canadian society. A transfer to a provincial jail will give him a head start at that, possibly allowing him to be released sooner. Though nothing can rectify the horrific treatment he experienced at the hands of US officials, a transfer would give him a chance at a quicker recovery and rehabilitation. I ask that the Canadian federal government withdraw its motion to appeal in light of the case’s unique circumstances.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Khadr family via Creative Commons