Omar Khadr - Child Soldier or Terrorist
A Travesty of Justice or Political Football?
In 2002, when he was 15 years old Omar Khadr was arrested for killing sgt. first class Christpher Speer. Whether Khadr did this or not is still in question. He has pleasded guilty and has, from reports that I have read been subjected to torture in order to extract that confession.
Whilst the loss of the soldier, is tragic, the fact is he was a soldier in a war zone and soldiers in war zones get killed. Khadr was fifteen. In 2002 the United Nations ratified a treaty which banned chikldren from being forced into war and becoming soldiers http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1815223.stm an optional protocoal to the U.N. Convention of the rights of a child which prevents children under the age of 18 being deployed by governments or rebel forces.
Omar Khadr has never been afforded protection by this convention. Instead he was treated, along with male prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, as a terrorist and subjected to the same treatments and conditions of the adult males with whom he was incarcerated.
I do not in any way support terrorism or terrorist activities. However I find the treatment and ongoing lack of education and rehabilitation of Mr. Khadr unconscionable.
Meeting terrorism with terrorism never has and never will lead to ceasation of these activities. The acts of terror that have been carried out in Afghanistan by the Taliban and insurgents are appalling - the acts of torture carried out under government sanctions are, in my opinion, equally appalling.
Khadr has been eligible, under the terms of a plea deal, to return to Canada since October 2010. A decision may be made within the next few days and under the plea deal Khadr will not be allowed to publish a book or participate in a film about his expriences and "live" off the proceeds.
In the next few weeks Khadr will be returned to Canada where he will face more time being incarcerated. Unlikely to receive services that will assist with his rehabilitation and banned from the potential to tell his story. Why? Is it because the story could potentially shame and create red faces amongst high ranking military and government officials.
I believe that it is Mr. Khadr's right to tell his story and he should be supported to do so in the hope of educating and turning other young men who may now see him as a hero from becoming engaged in terrorism. Gagging Khadr will only make things worse. I for one would like to know what really happened and what led up to the killing of the soldiers and Khadr's arrest and imprisonment. I would also like to know the truth about the deals and behind the scenes politics that have prevented him from being able to return to Canada in a more timely manner.
Read the poem by Mindfulmamo:http://mindfulmamo.hubpages.com/hub/child-soldier