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CBA calls for Omar Khadr to be released from Guantanamo Bay and turned over to Canada

CBA calls for Omar Khadr to be released from Guantanamo Bay and turned over to Canada
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For Immediate Release
August 12, 2007

CALGARY – The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is urging the Prime Minister of Canada to negotiate with the U.S. government the immediate release of Canadian Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay.

“Canada should call on the U.S. government to turn the 20-year-old over to Canadian law enforcement officials to be dealt with under Canadian law,” says CBA President J. Parker MacCarthy, Q.C. of Duncan, B.C. “Continuing to hold Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay is an affront to the rule of law.”

In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the CBA reaffirms its position (stated previously in a letter to the Prime Minister in April 2006) that conditions in Guantanamo Bay do not respect the rule of law, which says individuals cannot be detained indefinitely without being charged or denied the right to private communications with their lawyers.

Khadr, who was declared by the U.S. military as an “enemy combatant,” has been detained in Guantanamo Bay for five years without trial after it was alleged that he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. special operations officer. The fact that Khadr was only 15 at the time makes the situation more urgent.

The letter also notes that Canada is the only Western country with a citizen still detained at Guantanamo. Both Australia and the U.K. have repatriated their detained citizens.

“It is not enough to accept assurances from the U.S. government that due process is being followed. Canada’s international obligations, particularly under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Combat, demand immediate action on behalf of the Canadian government.”

The full text of the letter is available on the CBA website at:

The April 2006 letter is available at:

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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CONTACT: Hannah Bernstein, Canadian Bar Association, Aug. 10-14,Telus Convention Centre, Glen 208 Room, 403-218-7856; E-mail: hannahb@cba.org.

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