Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 8:43 AM
Subject: A13751-2008 IN REPLY TO YOUR EMAIL OF JULY 30, 2008
Ms. Gail Davidson and Co-signatories
Dear Ms. Davidson and Co-signatories:
Thank you for your correspondence of July 30, 2008, concerning the case of Mr. Omar Khadr, Canadian citizen detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
I understand your concerns and I can assure you that the Government of Canada has an interest in Mr. Khadr's case and in his treatment. Canadian observers have been present at his hearings before the Military Commission in Guantanamo Bay and the Court of Military Commission Review in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, officials of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada have carried out several visits with Mr. Khadr and will continue to do so. The visits allow access to Mr. Khadr to assess his welfare and treatment, and to obtain information about his mental and physical condition.
Although Mr. Khadr is no longer a juvenile, he was 15 years old when he was alleged to have committed crimes in Afghanistan. Canada has sought to ensure that the treatment of Mr. Khadr is consistent with internationally recognized norms and standards for the treatment of juvenile offenders, and that his age at the time the alleged events occurred is considered in all parts of the process. Canada has also consistently sought to ensure that Mr. Khadr receives the benefits of due process, including the access to Canadian counsel of his choice. The Canadian government has received unequivocal assurances from the U.S. authorities that Mr. Khadr will not be subject to the death penalty, and indeed the charges against him were referred to the Military Commission on a non-capital basis.
In keeping with Canada's long-standing policy, the Canadian government strongly believes that the fight against terrorism must be carried out in compliance with international law, including established standards of human rights and due process.
With respect to Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada, it is premature to discuss this issue since his case is still before the courts.
Thank you again for taking the time to write and share your concerns.
The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs