Terrorism

Gitmo Detainees in Limbo May Find Canadian Refuge

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A group of Toronto churches are petitioning Canada to admit as refugees some Guantanamo detainees who can't go home, but are also assured by the U.S. that they can't stay here, the Christian Science Monitor reports:

As members of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), various Christian denominations have taken up five cases, including those of three Uighurs, an Algerian, and a Kurd from Syria. The Catholic Diocese of Montreal is sponsoring two of the Uighurs, who remain nameless for fear of repercussions against their families in China.

Several Toronto congregations of the United Church of Canada, a Protestant denomination, hope to help Hassan build a new life. "Our commitment is to support him practically and financially for at least a year," says Moira Mancer, a member of the churches' refugee committee.

Last week, CCR called on Canadian immigration to expedite all five cases. "We're hoping the developing political landscape will favor the government giving positive consideration to them," says Janet Dench, CCR's executive director.

CCR worked with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which has lawyers representing Guantánamo prisoners, to identify men who meet Canadian criteria: The men must not have charges against them, and they must not be inadmissable because of criminality or posing a security risk.

"They'll be assessed against a fairly stringent criteria," says Alykhan Velshi, spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, adding, "Under no circumstances will we be taking steps to expedite the applications."

In other Guantanamo prisoner news, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopean citizen and former British resident, is scheduled to be returned to Britain today. Mohamed insists that after he was under U.S. custody but before ending up at Gitmo, he was beaten and/or tortured in three other countries.

Jacob Sullum on whether the Guantanamo detainees are really the "worst of the worst."

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  1. Watch out if any churches from Arizona do this, as Sheriff Arpaio will go apeshit.

  2. Noone else in the world wants these terrorists so we’ll take em right here?

    Heh, might be a good idea, since they’ll make a beeline south to attack america again. Show those stupid americans they need to kill their enemies. Especially once they’ve tortured them for months.

  3. First they torture these guys, and now they want to send them to Canada? When does the torture end?

  4. First they torture these guys, and now they want to send them to Canada? When does the torture end?

    They’ll get revenge on the US by touring as an Uighur Bryan Adams tribute band.

  5. Episiarch | February 23, 2009, 6:00pm | #

    First they torture these guys, and now they want to send them to Canada? When does the torture end?

    The CCR may make them listen to CBC.

  6. The Canadian Government has officially apologized for Bryan Adams.

  7. Mohamed insists that after he was under U.S. custody but before ending up at Gitmo, he was beaten and/or tortured in three other countries.

    So, this guys insists that he was NOT tortured at Gitmo… I thought everybody was tortured at Gitmo. I thought so many boards were worn out with water that the Amazon forest was substantially reduced. How did this guy avoid being tortured at Gitmo?

  8. wayne, note the emphasis,

    Mohamed insists that after he was under U.S. custody but before ending up at Gitmo, he was beaten and/or tortured in three other countries.

    The problem is not just that prisoners were tortured at Gitmo, it’s that they were tortured while in the custody of the US, period.

    Getting other folks to do our dirty work does not make it A-OK.

    But you know that, don’t you?

  9. IB,

    Yes, I agree that it is not OK for others to do our dirty work.

    There are several important points to make here though:

    1. despite all the hyper ventilating about torture at Gitmo, only three detainees were subjected to torture at Gitmo, in the form of water-boarding. The Ethiopian highlighted here bolsters that fact by “insisting” that his torture was pre-Gitmo.

    2. it is not at all settled that any torture by others was in fact done at the behest of US forces.

    3. he CLAIMS he was tortured by the great satan, or minions of the great satan. that don’t make it so. he certainly has much to gain by such claims.

  10. I really don’t get it. If all these guys were picked up in Afghanistan, why don’t we just return them to Afghanistan? If they are innocent or even sufficiently worried about being captured again, they’ll behave themselves and if they don’t, they’ll probably be blown up by us anyway when they rejoin their compatriots as the fight rages on. Why make a big international stink about finding a place for these guys to rest their heads?

    At the very least we could tail ’em and see where it leads.

  11. Well, let’s see. Several of the ones we have released have already reappeared on the battlefield and killed both civilians and US soldiers. That type of thing is not exactly good for morale. Indeed, the word has already gone out after the last bit of incontinence by the US Supreme Court that prisoners are no longer to be taken or they are to be taken by the Iraqis etc… who will treat them, oh so gingerly.

    Normally, combatants are held until hostilities are over to prevent just this sort of thing. Also, it is customary and just to execute combatants taken out of uniform. Any treatment short of that standard and these guys are coming out ahead.

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