"Torture is at the very centre of these prosecutions. Unless these trials are moved to a system with traditional due process protections, we face the shameful possibility that Khadr and others will be convicted with statements that were literally beaten out of them."
There's not a lot of sympathy for Khadr here at home. The general impression is that he's a bad kid, a soldier-killer from a bad family. A psychologist has even suggested Khadr is "evil." All of this, of course, is based on the impressions we have been given by governments, the military and the media. None of us really know Omar Khadr as a person, not at all. He hasn't been allowed to be one since 2002, when he was fifteen years old.
Once back in Canada, though, all of that landed perception is going to be challenged. Looking at the evidence, there's already a pretty compelling case to be made that the handling of Khadr was a complete bungle in which many were complicit. Sadly, this isn't a story without precedent - remember Maher Arar?
It could very well turn out that Khadr didn't kill Christopher Speer, was tortured into admitting he committed the crime while he himself was severely wounded and all this happening while he was 15 years old - a child in the eyes of the law.
Of course, the facts won't matter to some. They've already made up their minds; anything else will be interpreted as spin by sympathizers or the whine of bleeding hearts. There's a word for this confabulated justification of emotional responses - bigotry.
We keep telling ourselves that we are fighting against those who seek to destroy Western Civilization as embodied by freedom of person, freedom of speech and blind justice - yet we're narrowing that definition to exclude those we don't like.
Maybe it's time we start re-evaluating whether the greatest threat comes from troubles lapping at our shores, or from willful ignorance within our borders.