Defense lawyers for Omar Khadr have tried for years to arouse a sense of compassion among Canadians for what has happened to the young boy but, so far, have failed. The release of a tape which shows the 16 year old being questioned by Canadian interrogators reveals a frightened boy who is crying, rocking back and forth and mumbling to himself, “oh, my mother.” Reaction among Canadians so far is mixed with some having scant sympathy while others are genuinely shocked. Unfortunately, for Khadr, the Canadian government continues uttering its mantra that it will not interfere with the US justice system, a belief that implicitly supports the legality of the Guantanamo military court system.
At the time of Khadr’s interrogation the then Canadian government of Prime Minister Paul Martin insisted, “we have been given assurances by the Americans that he is being treated in a humane way and we take the Americans at their word.” Of course, President Bush has emphasized his administration does not engage in torture. A UN committee has denounced the trial of a boy who was sixteen at the time of the alleged incident and warned that America was establishing a dangerous precedent.
It is time to reject the idea a teenager should be regarded as an adult. Khadr’s family is most probably supporting the al-Qaeda movement which should be even more reason not to put on trial a child who was heavily influenced by his parents.