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Canada Supreme Court to hear Khadr appeal on government documents access

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] Thursday agreed to hear an appeal over the asserted right of Canadian Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive] to see thousands of pages of Canadian government documents related to his case. Lawyers for Khadr, who was born in Toronto, will face off against Canadian Justice Department [official website] lawyers who oppose the access. In May of this year, the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal overruled a lower court decision [judgment text] barring Khadr's access to documents compiled by Canadian officials following interviews with Khadr at Guantanamo. Invoking the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [official text], the appeals court concluded that Khadr had a right to see any evidence that could affect his right to a full defense.

Khadr was detained in Afghanistan in 2002 after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban. He was only 15 at the time. Early US military commission proceedings against him were effectively quashed by the US Supreme Court’s rejection of the presidentially-established military commission [opinion text] as unconstitutional in June 2006. He was formally recharged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April of this year under the new Military Commissions Act [PDF text] with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism as well as spying. Those charges were later dismissed by a military judge as improper but were subsequently reinstated [JURIST reports] by the new US Court of Military Commission Review. Khadr's lawyers are currently attempting to appeal that ruling [JURIST reports] to a US federal court. Canadian Press has more.

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