Khadr should be tried on American soil: Dion
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is calling on the federal government to intervene in the case of Omar Khadr.
Khadr, 21,is aCanadian citizen and the only remaining Westerner detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"It's a matter of rights," Dion said after meeting with Khadr's lawyers Wednesdayin Toronto, where Khadr's family lives.
"When you have the last Western citizen in Guantanamo and the government is not intervening, then you have the question in our mind: why the other countries did and not Canada," Dion said.
Khadr should be tried in a civilian court in the United States, said Dion.
"If it's not something that the U.S. authorities are willing to accept, then we will ask for the repatriation of this citizen," he said.
High-profile politicians, human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Khadr's lawyers have called on Canada to speak out on his treatmentand to allow him to return home to face due process on Canadian soil.
His lawyers are on a cross-country tour this week urging the Canadian government to take action to secure his release from Guantanamo.
Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler, one of Khadr's American military lawyers, said if his client is to receive a "just result" it will be because of political pressure from Canada.
The Canadian government last publicly raised concerns about Khadr's transfer to Guantanamo shortly after his arrest in 2002, asking the U.S. government not to send him to the base.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay have steadfastly expressed confidence in the U.S. government's ability to give Khadr a fair trial.
Other Western governments, however, have already secured the release of their citizens from the American detention centre.
David Hicks was returned to Australia to serve the remainder of his sentence, after spending five years at the facility.
Nations such as Denmark, France, Germany and Spain have also secured the release of their citizens, while theU.K. has gone as far as winning the release from Guantanamo of non-citizen permanent residents.
"It's ridiculous at this point to say that the Canadian government is content from assurances of the United States that Omar is being treated fairly," said Kuebler.
Khadr was 15 when he was captured in 2002 after surviving bombings and bullets in a firefight with U.S. forces at a suspected al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.
Heis accused of murdering a U.S. soldier byallegedly throwing a grenade.
After spending the past five years in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Khadr is currently in proceedings before a U.S. Military Commission and its appellate tribunal.
His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, has been linked to Osama bin Laden and was a reputed financier of al-Qaeda operations. He was killed in October 2003 by Pakistani forces.