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Canada government to appeal Khadr rights ruling

The Canadian Department of Justice [official website] on Monday announced that it will appeal [press release] a court ruling ordering the government to provide Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr [DOD Materials; JURIST news archive] with a list of remedies to ameliorate its breach of his constitutional rights. Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Canada [official website] held that Khadr, who is a Canadian citizen, has a right to "procedural fairness and natural justice" [JURIST report] under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text], and the government has so far failed to take appropriate action to guarantee these rights. On filing the appeal, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Rob Nicholson [official profile] said:

This case raises important issues concerning the Crown prerogative over foreign affairs. As the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in an earlier case involving Mr. Khadr, 'it would not be appropriate for the Court to give direction as to the diplomatic steps necessary to address the breaches of Mr. Khadr's Charter rights.' Omar Khadr faces very serious charges, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, material support for terrorism, and spying.
Khadr's lawyers said they doubt the court could reach a decision [CBC report] before Khadr's US military commission trial, which is set to begin on August 10 [JURIST report]. Also on Monday at his US military commission pre-trial, Khadr told the presiding judge, Army Colonel Patrick Parrish, that he intends to boycott his upcoming trial [JURIST report] and requested to fire his court-appointed military lawyer. Parrish denied the request after Khadr fired his US civilian lawyers and sought to represent himself last week.

Khadr has been held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] since his 2002 capture by US forces in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old. He is facing murder and terrorism charges [JURIST report] for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and injured another, although he has repeatedly denied the accusations. Khadr sought judicial review from the Federal Court following the Supreme Court's decision in January that Canadian government could continue to refuse to request his repatriation [JURIST reports] from Guantanamo, even though the judges unanimously agreed that the government had breached Khadr's Charter rights. According to the ruling, Canadian officials questioned Khadr even though they knew he was being indefinitely detained and with knowledge that he was subjected to three weeks sleep deprivation by US authorities. In May, a UN official called on the US and Canada to respect international conventions [JURIST report] and release Khadr into Canadian custody. The UN claimed that since Khadr was 15 when he was captured, his detention would fall in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], which has been ratified by Canada, but not the US.

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