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Canada to appeal ruling on Guantanamo detainee

Canada to appeal ruling on Guantanamo detainee

The government plans to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to try to overturn a lower court ruling that it ask the U.S. to return the last Western detainee at Guantanamo Bay to Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has steadfastly refused to get involved in detainee Omar Khadr's case, saying the United States legal process has to play itself out.
The government said Tuesday its position remains unchanged and that it will appeal this month's ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal, which upheld a lower court decision ordering the government to seek Khadr's return.
Khadr, a Toronto native, is one of the youngest people ever charged with war crimes. He was 15 when he was accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade during a 2002 battle in Afghanistan.
Khadr is now 22, and his lawyer has said he would be willing to face prosecution in Canada and undergo a transition period away from his relatives, who have previous ties to al-Qaida.
The Obama administration is reviewing Guantanamo cases to determine whether the remaining prisoners should be tried in U.S. courts or released to other countries.
Canada's Conservative government said that must play out.
"The government of Canada has consistently stated that Omar Khadr faces serious charges. After careful consideration of the legal merits of the ruling from the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal, the government has decided to seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court," the government said in a statement.
A judge ruled in April that Canada must ask the U.S. to return Khadr. It said Canada's refusal to request his repatriation offends fundamental justice and violates Khadr's constitutional rights.
The government appealed but the Court of Appeal dismissed the government's appeal earlier this month in a majority 2-1 decision.
Dennis Edney, Khadr's lawyer, said he's not surprised by the appeal.
"They have fought us every step of the way. We are used to this mean-spirited approach of this government," Edney said. "They have shown no interest in Omar Khadr from day one."
Khadr's lawyers contend Canada was complicit in what they say was Khadr's torture and maintain Harper is obliged under international law to demand the prisoner's return.
Canadian officials questioned Khadr at Guantanamo and shared the results of their interrogations with the U.S.
The appeals court said Canadian officials violated Khadr's constitutional rights by permitting the questioning of him after he had been subjected to cruel and abusive treatment.
Canada's three opposition parties have demanded the Conservative government bring Khadr home.
Khadr has received some sympathy from Canadians, but his family has been widely criticized and called the "first family of terrorism."
His father was an alleged al-Qaida militant and financier who was killed by Pakistani forces in 2003. A brother, Abdullah Khadr, is being held in Canada on a U.S. extradition warrant, accused of supplying weapons to al-Qaida. Another brother has acknowledged the family stayed with Osama bin Laden.


Updated : 2021-03-09 16:57 GMT+08:00