By Claire McCormack
Public safety minister Vic Toews has sparked anger among some experts on the Omar Khadr case, a high profile legal battle that has yet to see it’s conclusion.
Upon Khadr’s repatriation to Canada this past weekend, Toews issued a statement on the case, saying Khadr would be turned over to the Correctional Services of Canada where he said the “convicted terrorist” would eventually face the parole board.
Gail Davidson, director of Lawyer’s Rights Watch, said Khadr was never lawfully convicted of anything.
“Mr. Khadr wasn’t arrested in Afghanistan, he was illegally captured in Afghanistan,” Davidson told Humber News. “There isn’t one day of his imprisonment that has been anything other than illegal.”
“It’s an example to us as Canadians that our rights, the rights of me and the rights of you are only ever as secure as the rights of the least well protected,” Davidson said. “What happened to Mr. Khadr could certainly happen to you or I if we fell into a category of people that were currently being vilified. And right now we don’t fall into those categories, but we could.”
“Somewhere there has to be a moment where it’s beyond listening to Vic Toews condemn (Khadr) as a terrorist,” Janice Williamson, editor of Omar Khadr, Oh Canada, told Humber News. “What we know about Omar Khadr is so clouded by misrepresentation and by a history of exile and abuse.”
“I think that people feel uneasy about Omar Khadr because there is a sort of legacy of post 9-11 Islamophobia that has been enhanced by the ongoing incarceration of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo,” Williamson said.
Albert Montagnese, who works at the Parole Board of Canada, doesn’t know what will happen next to Khadr, currently being held in detention in Millhaven Institution near Kingston, Ont.
“It takes several days once someone lands at the assessment unit – which is where he is – for them to get the case started and calculate the sentences and communicate that to us,” Montagnese said.
It will be up to that board to rule on recommendations made by Corrections Canada.