Early yesterday morning, the Canadian government, in compliance with court orders, released a video of Omar Khadr’s interrogation by Canadian Security and Intelligence Service agents at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The video, which is the first ever seen of CSIS agents in action, is already making waves internationally. Within hours of the release, front-page headlines were sparked everywhere from The New York Times to the BBC to Al Jazeera.
I can only hope that all of this international coverage will bring more pressure to bear on the Canadian government to step up and do something to protect this young man from the torture he faces in Guantanamo Bay. Canada must request Omar Khadr’s repatriation so that he can face trial in this country.
Below I have collected a number of videos relating to Omar Khadr:
The Interrogation Video
“Before the rage, the resignation and the tears, came the trust. Teenaged prisoner Omar Khadr seemed sure that his countrymen from Canada had come to Cuba to help him and spoke freely when they asked questions. On the second day, the reality almost visibly dawned on his face.
… Much of the material released shows Mr. Khadr — who is wearing an orange uniform — sobbing and repeatedly saying, in a moan, “Help me, help me.”
Here is a short segment of the 8-minute interrogation video that has been released to the public so far. The full 7-hour video of the interrogation is scheduled for later release by the Canadian government. The audio quality is quite poor, but if you click the link to view the video at YouTube, you will find captions of the exchange.
There is no evidence of torture on the videotape, but it is reported that:
“Documents made public last week show that Mr. Khadr was subjected to weeks of sleep deprivation by U.S. military officials before being interviewed by Canadian officials, and that the Canadians were aware of the sleep deprivation.” (The Globe and Mail)
Opposition Parties Demand Action
On May 26, 2008, the NDP MP from Windsor-Tecumseh, Joe Comartin, challenged the government to respect the findings of torture by the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States and to demand Khadr’s return:
On June 13, 2008, the Liberal MP from Davenport, Mario Silva, questioned the government as to how much longer it would sit on its hands and do nothing to repatriate Khadr:
Romeo Dallaire Weighs In
Arguments at the Supreme Court of Canada
In May of this year, the Supreme Court ruled on the (il)legality of withholding disclosure from Khadr’s defence team. The SCC’s ruling in Khadr is what precipitated the release of the interrogation video above.
In Canada (Justice) v. Khadr, 2008 SCC 28, the court ruled that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has some limited application outside the borders of this country. A thorough analysis of the judgment can be found at The Court, Osgoode Hall’s blawg.
Below is a video (unfortunately, quite short) of some of the arguments made before the Supreme Court in that case: