Canada court orders release of Khadr classified information

[JURIST] A Canadian Federal Court judge ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that the government must release evidence to Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] that could assist in his defense. The decision followed last month's Supreme Court of Canada ruling [text; JURIST report] that Khadr had the right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text] to see confidential documents and videos compiled by Canadian officials following interviews with Khadr that possibly involved torture. The Federal Court judge held that Canadian officials violated Khadr's human rights under the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and the Geneva Convention [texts] when they knowingly allowed interviews of Khadr to continue at Guantanamo. Justice Mosley wrote:

Canada cannot now object to the disclosure of this information. The information is relevant to the applicant’s complaints of mistreatment while in detention. While it may cause some harm to Canada-US relations, that effect will be minimized by the fact that the use of such interrogation techniques by the US military at Guantánamo is now a matter of public record and debate. In any event, I am satisfied that the public interest in disclosure of this information outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure.
The government must release some of the related information its agencies have and Khadr may release that information to the public, both subject to national security limitations. CBC News has more. Canwest News has additional coverage.

Khadr, 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 in early May, Khadr accused US interrogators of mistreatment [JURIST report] including threatening him with rape, physically abusing him, and forcing him to swear to false statements.

 

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