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Amnesty McGill

Amnesty McGill Responds to Anthony Depatie

In my view, and in that of the other executives of Amnesty International McGill, Anthony Depatie’s recent Herald article ‘Stop the Endless Sympathy for Criminals and Terrorists’ is offensive and sorely lacking in factual grounding. Many of the statements made about Omar Khadr’s biographical details are unfortunately false. Khadr is quickly placed into a category of ‘treasonous Canadians of convenience’. Although it is possible that Khadr’s alleged actions technically fit one type of high treason, as defined in Criminal Code s.46(1)(c), it would be highly unusual for a fifteen-year old to be charged with such an offence. This statute contradicts Mr. Depatie’s claim that Canada has ‘no right to judge him’, but since the Government of Canada has made no attempt to do so, this characterisation is rendered ungrounded.Labelling Khadr a ‘Canadian of convenience’ implies in a derogatory manner that he is foreign or an immigrant, as does referring to ‘[Khadr’s] home country of Afghanistan’. Both are unsubstantiated. Omar Khadr was a Canadian citizen at birth; like me, he was born in Ottawa, a fact which gives both of us the inalienable right to citizenship. Although he was taken to al-Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan by his family on some occasions, and also lived in Pakistan, he was, as mentioned, born in Canada to Egyptian emigrants (CTV, Jan. 12 2006), and there is no indication that Khadr has ever held Afghan citizenship.Mr. Depatie imagines that human rights activists (such as myself) would describe Khadr as a ‘poor kid who had a rough upbringing…his daddy didn’t know better’. This is partially true. I absolutely do agree that Khadr had a rough upbringing; on the other hand, it is clear to me that his father should in fact have known a great deal better. Ahmed Khadr, viewed by the Federal Government as the most senior al-Qaeda… Read More