Canada high court rules government not required to seek Khadr repatriation

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] ruled [judgment text] Friday that while the treatment of Canadian Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] violated his rights, the government does not have to press for his return to Canada. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the interrogation of Khadr by Canadian officials while in detention violated section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text]. According to the ruling, Canadian officials questioned Khadr, who was captured at age 15, even though they knew he was being indefinitely detained, and, in March 2004, he was questioned with knowledge that he was subjected to three weeks sleep deprivation by US authorities. Still, the court said that forcing the government to press for his return was not an appropriate remedy. The court reasoned that ordering such a remedy would overreach its authority by not respecting the power of the executive to act on issues of foreign affairs. The Canadian chapter of Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged [press release] the government to exercise its authority to remedy the violations of Khadr's constitutional rights:


Amnesty International is calling on the Canadian government to respond immediately to today's unanimous Supreme Court of Canada declaration that Omar Khadr's rights have been violated. As a remedy to those violations, Amnesty International continues to call on the Canadian government immediately to seek Omar Khadr's repatriation from Guantanamo Bay back to Canada.

It is unclear how the government will respond to Friday's ruling.

Friday's ruling overturned a Federal Court of Appeal [official website] decision, which upheld a lower court order [JURIST reports] requiring the federal government to seek Khadr's repatriation. The federal government immediately appealed [JURIST report] the ruling to the Supreme Court. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said in November that Khadr will likely be tried [JURIST report] by a US military commission [JURIST news archive]. In October, Khadr's military lawyer was dismissed [JURIST report] and replaced with civilian lawyers by a US military judge on Khadr's request after court affidavits showed the lawyer's performance had become detrimental to his defense. 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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