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Canadians Detained Abroad

    December 19, 2012

    It is time for Canada to match international commitments with national action, says Amnesty International Canada in a new human rights agenda released today. While Canada has a strong record of accepting international obligations, including human rights treaties, the record is less exemplary in complying with findings and recommendations for Canada. Canadian human rights issues will be examined by the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of the Universal Periodic Review in 2013. Canada must take action to be ready for this international human rights scrutiny.

    “Concerted action is needed,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of the English branch of Amnesty International Canada. “It will take leadership, and long overdue cooperation and coordination among federal, provincial and territorial governments. But it cannot wait any longer. Canadians whose rights are affected need assurance that Canada will meet the country’s international obligations”.

    October 10, 2012

    As media reports broke that Omar Khadr was finally being flown back to Canada via US military transport and driven to Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ontario (near Kingston) – now confirmed by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews – commentators were already asking how the case will be remembered. While extremely welcome and long overdue, repatriation is simply the start of a new chapter in this decade old saga.

    Up until now, many of us expected the battle around Omar Khadr’s transfer to be settled in the Canadian courts. While today’s transfer pre-empts yet another inevitable negative decision – the courts have consistently ruled against the government over the years – Canada is not off the hook. An explanation for the long delay is owed not just to Omar Khadr, but to the Canadian public.

    October 09, 2012

    How long was Omar Khadr in US custody?
    Omar Khadr was held in US custody for over ten years. He was detained at the age of 15 during a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002. Although seriously injured, his interrogation started in the detention facility in Bagram. He was later transferred to Guantánamo Bay in October 2002 after he had turned 16.

    In October 2010, he was sentenced to 40 years in detention by a military commission, reduced to 8 years in a plea agreement with no credit for time served. After one further year in detention in Guantánamo, Omar Khadr because eligible for a transfer to Canadian custody in October 2011. He was transferred to Canada on September 29, 2012.

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