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Omar Khadr case and what’s in Harper’s mind

Letter: reader questions federal government intent with Omar Khadr case.

Dear Editor,

Mr. Edney, Omar Khadr's lawyer, made remarks after his client's successful bail hearing that reflect his frustration with the federal government’s insistence on "punishing a terrorist."

As I've followed this story, I can't help but believe that the federal government was pursuing its law and order agenda irrespective of the merits of Mr. Khadr's case.

Mr. Harper, by all accounts, is a consummate politician and tactician. Like any politician, a significant objective of his is to maintain power. I believe that this case represented for Mr. Harper a symbol of his law and order ideology and possibly an attempt to demonstrate to his constituency that he is ideologically consistent.

If you use a case, though, to push your political agenda and ideology irrespective of the merits of the situation, it suggests an inflexibility that does not recognize the human or legal implications of your beliefs.

In Omar Khadr's case, for instance, he was 15 at the time he was captured. Combatants are regarded as child soldiers up till age 18. Since he was 15 till a week ago, he was imprisoned first in Guantanamo, then Millhaven, Edmonton Institution  and then  Bowden- a total of 13 years. If you read the details of Mr. Khadr's  case, you'll find that the  original judgment of guilt was based on circumstantial evidence that  subsequently changed  when more evidence was presented.

Another combatant, who died in the firefight, was also present at the time of the U.S. medic's death. Despite the fact that he is reported to have been a model prisoner and of no harm to the community, the federal government seems to have had a knee jerk response to any favourable legal outcome.

One wonders whether the human and legal dimensions of this case was lost by the federal Department of Justice and whether beliefs and judgment trump other notions like rehabilitation and international law.

George Jason