Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lawyers Layout Omar Khadr's Repatriation Plan to Harper

We at Cambridge Strategies have been working with Omar Khadr’s Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney, to help bring Omar home. There was a news conference this morning about Omar’s case and outlining how his legal counsel has a plan to reintegrate him into Canadian society.

This Blog has commented on Omar’s case as a social justice issue over his incarceration and arrest as a child soldier. I have bemoaned the shoddy treatment and torture he has received while in the custody of the Americans and the breathtaking disinterest in his case by our own Canadian governments, both Conservative and Liberal

Here is the text of the letter Dennis Edney delivered to Prime Minister Harper’s office on Sunday evening in preparation for today's news conference.

February 08, 2009

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Re: Omar Khadr and Reintegration Plan

I write on behalf of various Canadian citizens, scholars, lawyers, academics, medical doctors, Imams, social activists and human rights and civil liberties organisations. We have prepared a reintegration plan for Omar Khadr, the details of which follow in this letter.

We, concerned citizens, believe in human compassion and the principle that no child should be forgotten and abandoned.

We have long advocated the return of Omar Khadr to Canada to be afforded the opportunity for a full and healthy reintegration within the Canadian society.

The recent changes in US policy with respect to Guantánamo Bay announced by President Obama offer the Canadian government a remarkable opportunity to take action to defend Omar Khadr’s rights.

We urge you to act expeditiously and request the repatriation of Omar Khadr to Canada, without further delay.

In anticipation of the possible release of Omar Khadr to Canada, we have developed a reintegration strategy for Omar’s return which we ask you to consider very seriously.

Our plan is designed to allow eminent organizations, representing a broad cross-section of Canadian institutions and agencies, to take legal responsibility for designing, implementing, and supervising all aspects of Omar’s life in Canada, until such time as he is able to become a fully functioning member of the Canadian mosaic.

An Oversight Committee will include but not limited to institutions and organizations representing the legal system, medical system and community, the educational system and community, the public service system and community, and the spiritual institutions and community representing several major faith based traditions.

This Oversight Committee will guide, direct and supervise the work of specialist professionals comprising the Khadr transition team. The transition team will bring together physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, temporal and spiritual counselors, specialists in rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers, professionals versed in treating post traumatic stress, teachers and educators, and other professionals as requested and required by the Oversight Committee.

To illustrate, the Khadr Transition team would include educators who would deliver a custom–designed schooling curriculum for Omar (which will be designed by King’s University College, Edmonton, Alberta, at their expense, and delivered in a home schooling enviroment) to bring him to the level of passing standard Canadian achievement tests.

The spiritual team would include leading clerics of the Muslim faith who belong to the mainstream of Canadian Muslims who are the majority that categorically denounces and opposes terrorism and radicalism; to impart to Omar the core message of humility, public service, peace and co - existence that is at the heart of Muslim teaching.

We see Omar living separate and apart from his family in another family setting until the Oversight Committee is advised by the Transition Team that Omar has developed the strengths to re-enter everyday life in Canada. This approach has the understanding and approval of Omar’s immediate family.

Much of Omar’s financial living costs will be borne by Canadian Muslim Organizations

We believe our reintegration and monitoring plan is comprehensive and addreses many of the concerns raised by the Canadian public should Omar return to Canada.

A recent Harris/Decima poll suggests 54% of Canadians believe Omar Khadr be returned to Canada while 38% believe he should face the court system in Canada, if returned.

We would welcome the opportunity for Omar to clear his name, face his abusers and put Guantanamo Bay on trial.

We would be pleased to provide further details about our reintegration plan on request.

We would also invite you to meet with members of the Oversight Committee prior to the visit by President Obama so that you can pass along a formal request.

In conclusion, we wish to assure you that we are prepared to work with your government in the interest of justice to ensure the reintegration and monitoring plan will prevail.

Yours sincerely,