Friday, April 30, 2010

Omar Khadr's kangaroo judge

As Omar Khadr's "trial" is nearly underway (pre-"trial" hearings are going on at the moment), his judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, is once again in the news.

Khadr is blind in one eye and has shrapnel in both. He has been suffering grievously of late, but no qualified medical assistance has been available to him in Gitmo. Parrish casually dismissed defence objections to his having to wear goggles while being transported to the court in a windowless van, and threatened to run the proceedings in Khadr's absence. Yesterday afternoon, Khadr was in court, in obvious physical pain.

Nearly two years ago, the previous judge in the case, Col. Peter Brownback, who had had the effrontery to allow some defence motions, was summarily removed from the case and replaced by the more pliable Parrish. During a previous incarnation of the military commission in 2008, the latter demonstrated his partiality to the prosecution by suppressing photographs that appear to exonerate Khadr.

Why would he do that? "Because," as defence lawyer Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler said at the time, "they show he's innocent."

The current railroading of Omar Khadr will continue unhindered by notions of due process and natural justice. Whether he is in pain or not, the machine will grind on, the results virtually guaranteed with fabricated evidence and a uniformed 'roo presiding.

And the Harper government, which has already rejected clear signals from the Obama administration that it would be open to a repatriation deal,
will no doubt sit back, basking in its recent Supreme Court victory, and applaud as this miserable travesty unfolds.

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