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Canada Supreme Court hears Khadr appeal on government documents access

[JURIST] Lawyers for Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] argued before the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] Wednesday that the Canadian government should be compelled to turn over confidential documents [JURIST report] that they say led to Khadr's charges and are therefore necessary for a fair trial. Khadr is seeking documents that Canada allegedly provided to US authorities, along with videotapes of Khadr's 2003 interrogations at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and uncensored transcripts. In May 2007, 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. In October 2007, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal by Canadian Justice Department lawyers opposing the access.

Khadr, now 21, faces life imprisonment after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2002. He was charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying. Khadr is one of four [JURIST report] Guantanamo detainees prosecuted under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text]. On March 13, a US military judge ruled [JURIST report] that some correspondence between US and Canadian government officials regarding Khadr must be turned over to Khadr's defense team. In an affidavit released earlier this month, Khadr said that US interrogators in Afghanistan threatened him with rape, physically abused him, and forced him to swear to false statements [JURIST report]. CBC News has more.

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