On October 18, the desperately flawed trial of Omar Khadr, the young Canadian man who has been in U.S. custody since age 15, is scheduled to resume – lack of transparency, fairness, credibility and all.
The trial is flawed because it is not happening in a real court. Omar Khadr has been tortured, threatened with rape, and denied basic legal rights. Yet despite all that, his fate now hangs outside a traditional judge and jury, but rests with politicians and military personnel.
But three decision-makers, responsible for guiding policies from three different federal offices – the Department of State, Department of Justice and Department of Defense – have the power to steer this runaway trial back on course.
They can be the ones who rise above the noise and send this powerful reminder:
In this country, when a person is suspected of doing something that violates the law, no matter how heinous the alleged act, they are entitled to a fair trial in a U.S. federal court.
We do not create new systems of justice to match the crime or to secure a conviction.
That’s why we’re asking you to join us in calling on these three officials to stop this trial before it starts on October 18: Harold Koh – Legal Adviser for Department of State, David Kris – US Assistant Attorney General for National Security and Jeh Johnson – General Counsel in the Department of Defense.
The fight against torture and terrorism can also be won in the courtroom, but it begins right here. Right now.