What People Are Saying About Omar Khadr
Brigadier General (ret) Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D. Army Medical Corps officer and certified child / adolescent psychologist who spent more than 200 hours with Omar Khadr.
"He's a smart, extremely decent young man. Thoughtful, very sensitive and I will say, amazingly, there's hardly an instinct of aggression or meanness in him at all." 14
Lieutenant Colonel Jon Jackson US Military lawyer: is currently Khadr’s defense lawyer.
"As far as why I know Omar Khadr is not a threat, I can only believe actions speak louder than words. I’ve been a soldier now for fifteen years, and I have represented people who are radical Jihadis... and I can tell you that the hundreds of hours that I’ve spent with Omar is all I can rely on to say that he’s a good person with a good heart and he wants to get an education and make a positive difference in society." 15
Rhadhika Coomaraswamy United Nations Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict.
"In every sense Omar represents the classic child soldier narrative; recruited by unscrupulous groups to undertake actions at the bidding of adults to fight battles they barely understand." 16
LGen (ret.) Honourable Romeo A. Dallaire, Senator Officer of the Legion of Merit of the United States and Officer of the Order of Canada.
"Canada must honour the agreement it has with Omar Khadr and return him immediately to Canada… There can be no doubt, and I conclude, that the case of Omar Khadr taints this government, this country and all of its citizens." 17
Colonel Morris Davis US Air Force Officer and lawyer that served as 3rd Chief Prosecutor in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.
"Treating Omar Khadr like some political hot potato that neither government wants to get stuck holding takes some of the shine of the credibility of what we claim we represent. It's not a bunch of bleeding hearts saying our governments need to do better in this case. I spent 25 years in the U.S. armed forces and Senator Romeo Dallaire was a Canadian lieutenant-general who took on and testified against war criminals." 18
Moazzam Begg British citizen with whom Omar shared a cell in Bagram. He has since been repatriated to the UK and released without charge.
"The last time I saw Omar he said to me "Nobody cares about me" and that will remain with me forever… I will never forget his case; I will never forget the individual or what happened to him or how I saw him. For me, his case epitomizes everything that is wrong in Guantanamo and the War on Terror." 19
Dennis Edney Canadian defense attorney who represented Khadr from 2003 to 2011.
"Had Omar refused [to sign the plea bargain], then he was faced with an unfair trial based on evidence that would be inadmissible in a real court and the potential of life in prison in Guantanamo Bay 20
Damien Corsetti Former United States soldier and interrogator in Bagram Prison where Omar Khadr was held before Guantanamo Bay.
"All I can say about him is that he was a kid – a typical 15-year old kid… The child was still there. That’s what was prevalent in him was the child." 21
John Norris Omar Khadr’s current Canadian defense lawyer.
"While Omar, a child, was trapped in a place that has been condemned around the world, the Canadian government stood idly by and said simply, 'We will let the process run its course.'… Canada has had ample time to make the decision that it promised that it would make." 22
Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler Omar Khadr’s detailed military council from 2007 to 2009
In a largely fictitious story first told by the (US) Department of Defense in 2002, Omar was the lone survivor of a 4-hour bombardment of an Al-Qaeda compound near Khost, Afghanistan. The story was that he waited in the rubble and then rose up wielding a pistol and hand grenade taking a group of US soldiers by surprise and killing a medic before being shot in the chest. No part of this story is true, however, and the Omar Khadr it describes does not exist." 23
Audrey Macklin Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto
Anybody in business knows about companies that get away with breaking their contracts whenever they figure the other party is too weak or insignificant to matter. "Make me," they sneer at the hapless party who believed in good faith that the company would do as it promised. Now imagine you live in a country where your government behaves like that company. And Omar Khadr is the other party." 24
Dr. Arlette Zinck Associate Professor, English, The King's University College.
I have been a Professor of English for 19 years and I have worked with Omar Khadr both by correspondence and in person for almost 4 years. Omar is an enthusiastic and hardworking student despite adverse learning conditions. Through our studies of Canadian literature he demonstrates the quality of his person. Omar consistently produces readings that are marked by compassionate insight and intelligent charity." 25
Archbishop Brendan M. O’Brien Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
As Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wish to share with you our concerns regarding the situation of Canadian citizen Mr. Omar Khadr… Canada has a duty to act in conformity with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms." 26