[JURIST] Canadian Liberal Party opposition leader Stephane Dion [official profile] Wednesday joined calls [press release] urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official profile] to pressure the US government for the immediate release of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [TrialWatch profile; JURIST news archive]. Following a meeting with lawyers appointed to represent Khadr in his hearing before a military commission review court [JURIST news archive], Dion said that Khadr should face charges in civilian court in the US or Canada, and that he should receive "the same consular support that any other Canadian - detainee or not - would receive." Speaking on Khadr's 21st birthday, Dion said that Khadr should be tried in a "legitimate court" to ensure that he receives due process, adding that it is clear that fair prosecution at Guantanamo "does not work."
Khadr is the only citizen of a Western nation currently detained at Guantanamo. He was detained in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15 after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban. Earlier proceedings against him were effectively quashed when the US Supreme Court rejected as unconstitutional [JURIST report] military commissions established by the president. He was formally recharged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April under the new Military Commissions Act with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying. Last month, the Canadian Bar Association urged Harper [JURIST report] to "negotiate" with the US for Khadr's release, saying that indefinite detention without charge contradicts the rule of law. To date the Harper government has declined to comment on any plans to ask for Khadr's release. The Globe and Mail has more.