Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 48

Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Status of Omar Khadr

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about recent developments in the Omar Khadr case. Yesterday, out of frustration and lack of hope, Khadr fired his three U.S. defence lawyers, leaving him without counsel for his trial which is scheduled to start next month. Never before has a U.S. court tried a child soldier, but now Khadr may have to resort to self-representation, which further complicates an already complicated case.

Khadr is now 23 years old and has spent one third of his life in prison for a crime he has neither been fully tried for nor convicted of. There have been reports that he has faced torture and mistreatment. He remains today the last Western prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.

All other Western countries have worked tirelessly with the U.S. government to ensure that their citizens were sent home, but Canada has failed to do so. Both the Federal Court and Supreme Court of Canada have made progressive rulings on Khadr’s situation, pushing our government to bring him home immediately. However, our government has time and again failed to make this matter a priority.

As I mentioned last Tuesday, Justice Zinn of the Federal Court of Canada gave the government seven days to come up with a list of remedies to fix violations they made on Khadr’s constitutional rights. Today is day four.

Honourable senators, the Khadr clock is ticking. I urge our government to bring Omar Khadr home.