Letter: One con…

By Rinaldi Gulinao

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Tristan Taylor’s article [“Canada as a get out of jail free card,” April 9] makes the false assertion that Mohammed Kohail is of a split Canadian-Saudi Citizenship. From all the facts that I could gather, Kohail, although once a resident of Saudi Arabia, is of Palestinian origin. Saudi Arabia’s naturalization process is a lot more stringent and is based upon rights of lineage. At this point, I would admit ignorance to whether Kohail is carrying dual Canadian-Palestinian citizenship or whether that is even allowed by Palestine.

Regardless of his Palestinian or Saudi status, Kohail has Canadian citizenship and therefore deserves the same diplomatic rights that every Canadian citizen is entitled to. By this I do not mean to say that Canada must necessarily act to influence Saudi Arabia to absolve him of any crimes with which Saudi law has found him guilty. Instead, all I am saying is that he deserves the same treatment given by our government to every Canadian facing a similar situation overseas.

While it is indeed true that Kohail is merely a naturalized Canadian, to cite this as any reason why he must be treated differently would be a vicious double standard. In painting Kohail as a citizen of convenience by saying he has “only been a Canadian citizen for three years and after obtaining his citizenship, moved back to his homeland,” and then endorsing inaction from Canadian government, Mr. Taylor is promoting what I would brand as a charter of convenience. In essence, he is making a case for the most disgraceful act of reneging on our national obligations to someone who has already been granted citizenship.

With this, I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Taylor’s opinion would remain consistent when the subject is that of a Canadian-born person. By this I am thinking of the most common example of a Canadian-American in the U.S. facing a long incarceration or perhaps even the death penalty. Would he then also review and measure these people on his own personal and arbitrary scale of Canadiana?

In the end, I do admit that any Canadian action in this case could very well run against issues of Saudi Arabian sovereignty. However, even in the case of Joseph Stanley Faulder, a Canadian executed in Texas for the brutal murder of the 75-year-old Inez Phillips, the Canadian government requested clemency to commute the death sentence. By comparison, the death the Saudi justice system found Kohail guilty of seems tragic for all those involved and less a malicious act with the outright premeditated intent to kill. This alone entitles Kohail to some kind, any kind, of action on the part of our government.

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