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Should gov'ts have a legal duty to protect its citizens detained abroad?

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,576
431
126
I'm of two minds on this.

On the one hand, I would hope that my government would do everything in its power to bring me home and end years of indefinite confinement without trial like in Mr. Khadr's case. He is, in fact, only alleged to have done the crime - the fact that no case against him has concluded either way speaks volumes. Shouldn't we all receive assistance from our government under the assumption that we're innocent, not guilty?

On the other, the Khadr family are amongst the lowest form of scum. I don't especially wish for people like them to receive mandatory help from the government. I mean, sure, you may not have thrown the grenade that killed an American soldier, but it's not like you got caught in the middle of a firefight in Afghanistan while you were innocently stepping out to buy a jug of milk...

Supreme Court warned not to make precedent-setting Khadr ruling

OTTAWA -- The Harper government is warning the Supreme Court of Canada against becoming the first court in the western world to declare that a government has a legal duty to protect its citizens detained abroad.

The federal government is appealing a Federal Court order to seek Mr. Khadr's repatriation from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the 23-year-old terror suspect has been held for seven years on charges of murder as a war crime for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed U.S. army medic Christopher Speer in Afghanistan.

Federal lawyers, in written arguments filed in advance of a Friday hearing in the case of Omar Khadr, say that courts in England, Australia and South Africa have all rejected the principle that governments are obligated to intervene, diplomatically or otherwise, to help citizens in trouble with the law on foreign soil.

"Canadian courts should not be used to lobby the government to exercise its discretion in a particular way," says the Justice Department's legal brief.

Federal Court Justice James O'Reilly ruled in April that the government, by its years of indifference toward Mr. Khadr, violated his Charter of Rights guarantee of fundamental justice and, therefore, must pay him back by seeking his return to his birth country.

In particular, Canadian officials failed Mr. Khadr by interviewing him at the U. S. military camp in 2003 and 2004 and then passing on the intelligence to American officials, Justice O'Reilly said. Before the 2004 interview, a Canadian official had been told by the Americans that Mr. Khadr had been subjected to sleep deprivation to induce him to talk.

The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the ruling in August in a 2-1 decision.

Mr. Khadr is the only westerner remaining at the Guantanamo Bay military unit. All other countries have repatriated their citizens.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
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Here's the thing. What if the charges are false? I'm not saying that in this case that's true, but in general?

I think yes, but that doesn't mean the person gets off. The Canadian government can petition in order to get it's citizen back, however if there is a charge against the individual it needs to be pursued, and justice done. If innocent they are freed, if not then they do not gain their freedom, but are protected from the abuses another government might inflict out of spite.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
126
When in Rome...

And if you don't like their laws, don't go there.

Sometimes they don't go to Rome but get picked up by the Romans anyway.

Again I don't know the particulars of this case, but there have been innocent prisoners sent to Gitmo. If I were one, I'd hope someone from my country would try to help.
 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
20,991
853
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If an American broke the law of the land they were visiting, then no. For example, if youre in a country that doesnt have the freedom of speech, and you open your mouth and get detained for it, tough luck. Your constitutional rights disappear when you leave the USA. I have met so many arrogant Americans when Ive travelled its amazing they think the US embassy will come to their rescue if theyre detained. Or they think they will get an atty lol. Stupid.
 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
20,991
853
126
Here's the thing. What if the charges are false? I'm not saying that in this case that's true, but in general?

I think yes, but that doesn't mean the person gets off. The Canadian government can petition in order to get it's citizen back, however if there is a charge against the individual it needs to be pursued, and justice done. If innocent they are freed, if not then they do not gain their freedom, but are protected from the abuses another government might inflict out of spite.
AFAIK if an American is detained under questionable circumstances, the embassy will be involved. i.e. false charges, etc.
 

Zorkorist

Diamond Member
Apr 17, 2007
6,861
3
76
Thank goodness that America still espouses personal responsibilty (or do we?) and this is a no-brainer... you get in trouble in a foreign country? Good luck to you.
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
1
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Sometimes they don't go to Rome but get picked up by the Romans anyway.
If by chance you mean a US citizen was kidnapped (while in the USA) and taken abroad, then IMO, that could definitely be considered an act of war and our government would have authority to act upon it.
 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
20,991
853
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If by chance you mean a US citizen was kidnapped (while in the USA) and taken abroad, then IMO, that could definitely be considered an act of war and our government would have authority to act upon it.
That has nothing to do with the scenario were talking about.
 

Fern

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 30, 2003
26,907
173
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I'm of two minds on this.

On the one hand, I would hope that my government would do everything in its power to bring me home and end years of indefinite confinement without trial like in Mr. Khadr's case. He is, in fact, only alleged to have done the crime - the fact that no case against him has concluded either way speaks volumes. Shouldn't we all receive assistance from our government under the assumption that we're innocent, not guilty?
-snip-
IMO, if it speaks volumes about anything it's the sheer stupidity of conflating military matters with civilian courts.

It's like driving a square peg in a round hole: The military is not in the business of forensics, collecting evidence and adhering to rules regarding the chain of custody for that evidence. Nor is it anything but stupid to be dragging soldiers off the field to appear in trial like police have to do.

I expect diplomatic agreements already exist between our two countries. My guess is the Harper gov doesn't wanna pursue them in this instance and the court is trying to force it to do so. I don't know the rules/laws of your country, but if this were a US matter I'd say the court is engaging in an unwarrented intrusion into the Exec Branch. The converse would be the Exec making the SCOTUS hear a case they declined, that would never fly.

Fern
 
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yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,576
431
126
IMO, if it speaks volumes about anything it's the sheer stupidity of conflating military matters with civilian courts.

It's like driving a square peg in a round hole: The military is not in the business of forensics, collecting evidence and adhering to rules regarding the chain of custody for that evidence. Nor is it anything but stupid to be dragging soldiers off the field to appear in trial like police have to do.

I expect diplomatic agreements already exist between our two countries. My guess is the Harper gov doesn't wanna pursue them in this instance and the court is trying to force it to do so. I don't know the rules/laws of your country, but if this were a US matter I'd say the court is engaging in an unwarrented intrusion into the Exec Branch. The converse would be the Exec making the SCOTUS hear a case they declined, that would never fly.

Fern
I think you're right on both counts.

The comparison to the U.S.'s executive branch versus the judicial branch is especially enlightening. I'm not sure Canada draws the line quite so clearly, though in the only instance I can recall like this is when the current government was sued by an environmental advocacy group to force it to comply with the Kyoto Protocol's targets. That suit was dismissed (link):

The Canadian government won't have to face three suits accusing it of failing to draft a plan to meet pollution-reduction goals, with a federal judge saying he couldn't issue a meaningful order for the government to follow.

"Such an order would be so devoid of meaningful content and the nature of any response to it so legally intangible that the exercise would be meaningless,'' Judge Robert Barnes said in a 40-page ruling issued today.

Barnes also said in today's ruling that he doesn't believe the court has a role to play in reviewing the reasonableness of the government's response to Canada's Kyoto commitments.
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
62,344
14,563
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If an American were being held abroad w/o charge or bail, w/o the due process afforded a citizen of that other country, the State Dept would be up in arms. The Canadian govt would be, too, if it were one of their citizens in any country other than the US... and any place other than Gitmo.

Basically, the Canadian govt is complicit in the travesty of Gitmo.
 

Zorkorist

Diamond Member
Apr 17, 2007
6,861
3
76
Apparently President Obama wants to protect Yemini, Saudi, and other nations citizens.

Another first!
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
9,859
1
81
If an American were being held abroad w/o charge or bail, w/o the due process afforded a citizen of that other country, the State Dept would be up in arms. The Canadian govt would be, too, if it were one of their citizens in any country other than the US... and any place other than Gitmo.

Basically, the Canadian govt is complicit in the travesty of Gitmo.
Pretty much.

Most countries attempt to protect their citizens to the extent that they always remain accountable to the laws of their home country, but not to abuses of process, or what would be considered undue punishment.

So if a Canadian were arrested for shoplifting and faced 30 years, or some form of corporal punishment, or death, we would normally try to bring them home if trial conditions were expected to be unfair, or bring them home to serve the sentence they might have received for the same crime at home, if they've been convicted.

The Khadr case must be more complicated than is being let on (and the rest of his family, especially his mother, is pretty messed up), because this is now the second or third PM who has absolutely refused to intervene (I can't remember if this dates back only to Martin, or to Chretien, too).
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
62,344
14,563
136
Pretty much.

Most countries attempt to protect their citizens to the extent that they always remain accountable to the laws of their home country, but not to abuses of process, or what would be considered undue punishment.

So if a Canadian were arrested for shoplifting and faced 30 years, or some form of corporal punishment, or death, we would normally try to bring them home if trial conditions were expected to be unfair, or bring them home to serve the sentence they might have received for the same crime at home, if they've been convicted.

The Khadr case must be more complicated than is being let on (and the rest of his family, especially his mother, is pretty messed up), because this is now the second or third PM who has absolutely refused to intervene (I can't remember if this dates back only to Martin, or to Chretien, too).
I know how to clear all of this up- Have an open and honest trial for every person held at Gitmo. Bring forth the evidence and the witnesses, sort the guilty from the innocent in a court of law...

Nah. Too easy. Much better to engage in shameful and shady conduct, pander to fear here at home. Just think, if we'd have had honest, decent leadership at the time, they probably would have said something like "We have nothing to fear except fear itself"... But they had an agenda at home and abroad, one served by fearmongering and lies... which is their legacy, and a millstone around the necks of their successors...
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
A person from canada killed members of the armed forces so let Canada make a donation to the families of the fallen and then we could talk about it. I think technically we should charge him with murder and give him life imprisonment and then let them extradite him afterward and demand that he must be kept in prison. We do have an extradition treaty with Canada. Dont know how good it worked during the Vietnam war and all????

Since the USA had a trial for a pilot that dropped bombs on their people we could demand they have a trial on their person who killed members of our military. Fair is fair.
 
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Robor

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
16,979
0
0
If an American broke the law of the land they were visiting, then no. For example, if youre in a country that doesnt have the freedom of speech, and you open your mouth and get detained for it, tough luck. Your constitutional rights disappear when you leave the USA. I have met so many arrogant Americans when Ive travelled its amazing they think the US embassy will come to their rescue if theyre detained. Or they think they will get an atty lol. Stupid.
So true... This reminds me of the large bold red letters at the bottom of the Philippines immigration document they hand you on the plane before landing...

'DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER PHILIPPINES LAW'. :eek:
 

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