Opinion Letters

Khadr was a kid: LETTER

Omar Khadr. (Handout)

Omar Khadr. (Handout)

Never forget the facts.

Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen who was born in Toronto.

He was held in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, an American prison in Cuba where human rights are tossed out the window along with legal rights.

He was 15 years old and indeed the prison’s youngest ‘detainee’ at the time.

They call them ‘detainees’ because many never saw a courtroom, were never convicted of anything and could not be called prisoners officially.

Omar Khadr suffered horrendous abuse for a decade.

This is a Canadian citizen, and at the time the Canadian government did nothing.

Khadr confessed, his only way to escape from that illegal, immoral pit of hell.

There was not nearly enough evidence to convict him in any civilized court and in 2010 our own Supreme Court ruling found Canadian officials had violated his rights.

He was a kid who had no choice in where he went nor what he did.

At 15, we don’t allow kids to drive a car, take a drink, smoke or vote because they’re not responsible enough for those decisions.

How would you feel if Canada let 15-year-olds join and fight in the Canadian military? Or worse, let parents sign up their children without the child’s consent?

That would be crazy, eh?

Khadr has reportedly received a settlement of $10.5 million from the Canadian government in his breach-of-rights lawsuit.

It is not only compensation, but hopefully a warning to Canada to never allow one of its citizens to be illegally detained by a foreign government without serious and immediate action.

Anger is merely frustration turned outward and those who are outraged at the settlement will probably never be convinced of its validity nor humanity.

I, for one, am proud of how our government handled this ugly chapter in Canadian history and support its sincere apology on our behalf.

I wish Mr. Khadr all the happiness he can muster for the remainder of his life. It can’t make up for what he has experienced; indeed no amount of money ever could.

Jim Rice

Barrie 



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