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Canada government to accept Khadr after one year

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon [official profile] told the House of Commons [official website] Monday that the Harper administration has agreed to accept Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee and convicted terrorist Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] after he serves the first year of his sentence in Guantanamo. The announcement comes the day after a panel of seven senior US military officers on Sunday sentenced Khadr to 40 years in prison [JURIST report]. He will only serve eight years as part of his plea agreement last week where he pleaded guilty [JURIST reports] to all five charges against him, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and espionage. Cannon told the House of Commons that the Toronto-born Khadr will return to Canada but continued to insist that Canada was not involved in the plea negotiations [Toronto Star report]. However, a released US State Department [official website] memorandum [text] shows that the US suggested that Khadr be transferred to Canada to finish his sentence as part of the plea agreement. Canadians are split on whether Khadr should serve part of his sentence in Canada. A poll estimated that 49 percent [Global Montreal report] of the population was not in favor of the move.

The Harper administration previously declined to seek the repatriation of Khadr despite a ruling [judgment text, JURIST report] by the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] that the interrogation of Khadr by Canadian officials while in detention violated section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text]. Canadian officials questioned Khadr, who was captured at age 15, despite knowing that he was being indefinitely detained and had been subjected to sleep deprivation by US authorities. Still, the court held that forcing the government to press for Khadr's return was not an appropriate remedy, as such an order would overreach the court's authority. At trial, Khadr had argued that his confession was a byproduct of torture the judge ruled that Khadr's confession was admissible at trial [JURIST reports]. Khadr was arrested and charged at the age of 15 after he was captured following a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002 in which he threw a hand grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another.

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