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CBA, Lawyers Without Borders, Barreau du Québec and others call jointly for repatriation of Omar Khadr

CBA, Lawyers Without Borders, Barreau du Québec and others call jointly for repatriation of Omar Khadr
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For Immediate Release
September 30, 2008

MONTREAL – The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has joined Lawyers Without Borders, the Barreau du Québec and five other legal organizations to call on the Canadian government to bring Omar Khadr back to Canada, where his case can be dealt with under the laws of this country.

“Prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have been detained indefinitely – many for years – without being charged or allowed to communicate privately with their lawyers,” says Marie Laure Leclercq of Montréal, representing the CBA at a news conference on Sept. 30.  “This is a clear case of disrespect for the rule of law.”

The legal groups are also calling on all federal political parties to take a position in favour of the repatriation of Omar Khadr and to explain how they would accomplish this in the shortest possible time.

The CBA first spoke out on the plight of Omar Khadr in August 2007, when it sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling for Mr. Khadr’s immediate repatriation to Canada. 

A year later, CBA President Guy Joubert of Winnipeg has made respect for the rule of law and the CBA’s continued call for Khadr’s repatriation among his top priorities for the year.

Last February, then-CBA President Bernard Amyot was one of 34 bar leaders around the world who called on U.S. President George W. Bush to close the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay. At the same time, the CBA reiterated its call to the federal government to have Omar Khadr transferred to the custody of Canadian law enforcement officials.

Three months later, in May 2008, the CBA brought its perspective to the House of Commons International Human Rights Subcommittee.  Here, too, the CBA expressed to members of Parliament its concern for the lack of respect for the rule of law.  “Our commitment to justice is challenged where the individual is unpopular and accused of terrible crimes.  It’s at times like this that we must speak out, and defend those rights.  This is what the rule of law requires – that we recognize the rights of all, not just the favoured few,” said the CBA submission.

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, Tel: (613) 237-2925, ext. 146; E-mail: hannahb@cba.org.

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