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Canada appeals court reverses ruling for government intervention in Khadr case

The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal [official website] has ruled that a Federal Court [official website] decision calling for the government to protect the rights of Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] while in US custody overstepped judicial boundaries. Chief Justice Pierre Blais criticized the lower court ruling [JURIST report], which gave the Canadian government one week to come up with a list of measures to protect Khadr's rights and stated that the court would impose a remedy if the government failed to do so. In a ruling released Thursday, Blais stated that the lower court lacked the authority [Globe and Mail report] to impose a remedy and that the court's decision interfered with the government's right to oversee and control matters regarding foreign affairs. Khadr's lawyers are uncertain whether they will pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court in light of the fact that Khadr's trial before a US military commission is scheduled to begin on August 10 [JURIST report].

Last week, the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] allowed Khadr to amend his 2004 habeas corpus petition [JURIST report], but refused to lift the stay on the petition pending the conclusion of his trial before the military commission. Earlier this month, a US judge ordered Khadr's military attorney to continue defending him [JURIST report] after Khadr fired his civilian attorneys and requested that the military attorney be fired as well. At a pre-trial hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Khadr informed the US war crimes court that he had previously rejected a plea deal [JURIST report] offered by the US government to suspend all but five years of a 30-year prison sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. He stated that the plea would have been used to excuse the torture and abuse of a child. Khadr also indicated that he would not participate in the trial or offer a defense on his own behalf because the process offers him no hope of justice. Khadr is facing murder and terrorism charges [JURIST report] for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan.

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