Ottawa refuses to move on Khadr case – Meeting with Clinton does not change controversial stand
PAUL KORING AND OMAR EL AKKAD
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
Washington, Toronto – Ottawa won’t seek the return of Omar Khadr, the only Canadian and last remaining westerner left in Guantanamo, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said yesterday after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
While the new U.S. President Barrack Obama has pledged to shut down Guantanamo within a year and is urging other countries to help re-settle some detainees, the Harper government hasn’t budged from the position it maintained throughout the Bush years.
“As a matter of fact, I reiterated Canada’s position on this,” said Mr. Cannon. “What I have said on numerous occasions is that this individual is allegedly a murderer and [stands] accused of terrorism.”
Mr. Obama has ordered a sweeping review of the controversial military tribunals set up to conduct terrorist trials. That review may result in those accused, including Mr. Khadr, being tried in federal courts or military courts but many expect some sort of
new special court will need to be created.
“Canada fully respects the process the American government has put forward and we will await the outcome of that process before anything takes place,” Mr. Cannon said.
Opposition leaders in Canada and rights groups in both countries have demanded the Harper government seek Mr. Khadr’s return if only because he was a child soldier, only 15 years ago when he was severely wounded in a firefight in Afghanistan where an American special forces soldier was killed.
Ms. Clinton didn’t not ask Canada to take Mr. Khadr back, Mr. Cannon said.
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