Why we need a rehab plan for the likes of Omar Khadr – By Sheema Khan
From Thursday’s Globe and Mail
Nascent relations between the Harper government and the Obama administration have been marked by the absence of public discourse about the fate of child soldier Omar Khadr.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper steadfastly refuses to consider his repatriation, and his government has given full support to the travesty known as Guantanamo Bay. Nonetheless, with the prison set to close within a year, a solution will have to be found for Mr. Khadr.
Assuming that he is returned to Canada, as opposed to incarceration in the United States, serious thought must be given to his rehabilitation and eventual reintegration into society. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace touts Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive counter terrorism program aimed at prevention, rehabilitation and post-release care.
Established in 2004, the program has been adopted by the U.S. military in Iraq, along with several countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. It is not offered to those convicted of terrorism-related murder charges. Thus far, the recidivism rate is about 10 per cent. Since January, however, nine graduates have been rearrested for joining terrorist groups, while one is now an al-Qaeda chief in Yemen. These graduates underwent truncated rehabilitation for only a few months.
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