Canada court affirms order mandating Khadr repatriation efforts

[JURIST] The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal [official website] upheld [judgment, PDF] Friday a lower court's ruling [judgment, PDF; JURIST report] ordering the Canadian government to advocate for the repatriation of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive]. The government appealed the April ruling asserting that the lower court erred in holding that Canadian officials violated Khadr's rights to "life, liberty, and security" under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) [text]. At issue was the conduct of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) [official websites] in interviewing [JURIST report] Khadr in 2003 while he was in custody at Guantanamo Bay, and in providing the US Government with recordings of those interviews afterward. The appeals court held that the Canadian officials failed to protect Khadr's rights by assisting the US Government despite their knowledge that Khadr had been subjected to treatment repugnant to Section 7 of the Charter as well as a number of other domestic and international human rights laws and conventions:


the principles of fundamental justice do not permit the questioning of a prisoner to obtain information after he has been subjected to cruel and abusive treatment to induce him to talk. That must be so whether the abuse was inflicted by the questioner, or by some other person with the questioner’s knowledge. Canada cannot avoid responsibility for its participation in the process at the Guantánamo Bay prison by relying on the fact that Mr. Khadr was mistreated by officials of the United States, because Canadian officials knew of the abuse when they conducted the interviews, and sought to take advantage of it.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said they will review [BBC report] the court's decision. An appeal to the Supreme Court [official website] is still possible.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) [official website] criticized the conduct of CSIS last month for failing to consider Khadr's age and human rights issues regarding alleged mistreatment by US authorities during the 2003 Guantanamo interviews. Also last month, Khadr reaffirmed his previous request [JURIST report] to have his US military lawyers dismissed from his case [AP report] for arguing and disagreeing among themselves. Khadr told the judge that he did not trust the military lawyers or their office. Khadr has allegedly admitted to throwing a hand grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan, and was charged [JURIST reports] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.

 

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