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Federal appeals court dismisses Khadr petition to review combatant status

[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Friday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a petition brought by US terrorism detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], who sought review of his unlawful enemy combatant classification. The court agreed with the arguments [JURIST report] of US Department of Justice lawyers and held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear Khadr's appeal, since the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF] only permits it to review final judgments of military commissions. The court also held that public interest in fair military commissions did not justify the court's review of Khadr's determination as an unlawful enemy combatant prior to a final judgment. AP has more.

On Thursday a US military judge at Guantanamo Bay set October 8 [JURIST report] as the date for Khadr's military commission trial. Khadr, who is 21, faces life imprisonment for crimes allegedly committed six years ago while he was fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. 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. In April, Khadr's military judge, Col. Peter Brownback, ruled [PDF text] that Khadr was not a child soldier when he was captured in Afghanistan. Khadr's lawyers had moved for dismissal [JURIST report], alleging a violation of the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], which gives special protection to children under 18 who are involved in armed conflicts. Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled enemy combatants can challenge their detention in federal courts [JURIST report], a decision that puts the future of the commission process into doubt.

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