Friday, July 11, 2008

Ottawa fought Khadr's transfer to Gitmo

A federal government official who dispatched an envoy to Guantanamo Bay to visit al-Qaeda suspect Omar Khadr says his department lost an early bid to keep the teenager out of the controversial U.S. prison camp.

In an interview, Gar Pardy, the now retired head of consular programs for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said that in 2002-03 “we were fighting for Omar [Khadr],” whom he regarded as too young for Guantanamo.

“I wanted to use his age as the largest club we had to beat up the Americans on,” Mr. Pardy said. But he added that Canadian initiatives to protect the prisoner's rights got lost among departments and officials with competing priorities.

Officials in Ottawa are bracing for the imminent release of classified DVDs showing Canadian-led interrogations of Mr. Khadr.

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