UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) -Report

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The UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) [official website] released a report [text, PDF] on Friday finding that Canada was complicit in rights violations against three Canadians who were held prisoner in Syria, and against Omar Khadr, who is currently detained at Guantanamo Bay. All four of the detainees are Arab-Canadians who were detained post-9/11. The committee condemned Canada for refusing to apologize and give compensation to the individuals who were tortured in Syria, and recommended that the country do so immediately. The committee also urged Canada to approve Khadr’s request to be transferred from Guantanamo to Canada for the remainder of his sentence to avoid any future mistreatment, and to appropriately compensate him for human rights violations that the Canadian Supreme Court ruled he actually did suffer.

Khadr sent an application requesting to be transferred from Guantanamo to Canada in April, but the Canadian government has not yet responded to his request. He pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges including killing a US soldier in 2002 in Afghanistan. Although the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that year that Khadr was tortured during interrogation in violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text], the Canadian government decided not to seek repatriation. The government had been urged [press release] by the Canadian chapter of Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] to seek repatriation, but the court ruled it was not required to do so.