Vancouver – The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has selected U.S. Lieutenant-Commander William Keubler as the 2009 recipient of their annual Reg Robson Award for protecting civil liberties. Two years ago, Lt.-Comm. Keubler was appointed by the U.S. Navy to represent Canadian-citizen Omar Khadr before the U.S. military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. His advocacy continues to this day.
“Giving this award to Lt.-Comm. Kuebler is a departure from our tradition of awarding the Reg Robson award to a Canadian,” acknowledged BCCLA president Robert Holmes. “However, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty, including through his efforts to raise Canadians’ awareness of the lack of due process in the American proceedings involving Canadian child soldier Omar Khadr.”
Mr. Khadr was detained at the age of 15 in Afghanistan and subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation and other abuses that violated his fundamental human rights. In the course of defending him, Lt.-Comm. Kuebler conducted a Canadian speaking tour to encourage the Canadian government to intervene and prevent the flawed American military tribunal process from proceeding against a Canadian citizen.
“Lt.-Comm Kuebler’s efforts are all the more remarkable given that he was defending a foreigner against a prosecution brought at the instance of his Commander in Chief, the President of the United States,” notes Holmes. “Lt.-Comm Kuebler’s fearless advocacy for his client against the enormous resources of the state is an excellent example of the importance of having an independent bar. His obvious commitment to due process and the rule of law as essential components of democratic society deserves international recognition.”
The Reg Robson award will be given to Lt.-Comm Keubler at the BCCLA’s first annual membership conference at the Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street in Vancouver which runs from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on March 25, 2007. Lt.-Comm Kuebler will receive his award and address the conference at 7:50 p.m., followed by a screening of the anti-torture film “Taxi to the Darkside”.
Cost of the event is free for BCCLA members, and $10 for non-members.
Robert Holmes, President – 604-681-1310
David Eby, Acting Executive Director – 778-865-7997