The case of Khadr v Canada has created a great deal of interest worldwide, and concerned the alleged violation of his rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (hereby referred to as ‘the Charter’). Like so many other cases connected to detainees in…
When assessing such questions, the answers appear to require a balance between the safety of nations against the resultant infringement of the rights of individuals. But on which side should the balance fall, and when – if at all – is it tolerable to restrict the rights provided in the Charter? Khadr’s case, like so many others, raise these and many more questions, and bring to light the delicate yet fundamental problems faced by the detainment of suspected terrorist individuals.
Canadian citizen Khadr, having been arrested on suspicion of involvement with Al-Qaeda, and murder of an American soldier was detained in Guatanamo from 2002, during which time he was a minor. He was denied access to counsel and family and was interrogated several times by both US and Canadian officials. When interviewed by the Canadian Government, it was alleged that the interviewer did not allow Khadr access to legal counsel and did not inform his of his right to silence. Further, the interviewer was aware that Khadr had been exposed to sleep deprivation prior to the interview – a practice held to be torturous and illegal. The information obtained by the interviewer was then exposed to the US Government; an action that affirmed Canada’s participation in the conduct of the US, held to be a violation of fundamental principles of justice (Prime Minister v Khadr  SCC 3). Khadr claimed that his fundamental rights provided in section 7 of the Charter had been violated – the right to life, liberty and security of person. Khadr’s rights were held to have been violated, although the Supreme Court of Canada instructed that the Government provide a remedy which was in coordination with the Charter, rather than order his release and return to Canada. Some would imagine that such a remedy would be his release, and many would be surprised to discover that the ...
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