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Khadr lawyers renew request for transfer to Canada

Lawyers for Canadian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee and convict Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] on Thursday renewed calls for the Canadian government to respond to a request to transfer Khadr to Canada. A former child soldier for al Qaeda, Khadr has expressed his desire to serve out his sentence in his home country [CP report]. A request was formally sent to the Canadian government [JURIST report] in April, after being approved by the US government. In 2010 Khadr pleaded guilty to five charges [JURIST report] in a military tribunal, including killing a US soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews [official profile] said in April that the repatriation of Khadr was being considered [AP report], and that a decision would be made soon.

Omar Khadr was charged 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. In August 2010 the military judge rejected Khadr's claim that his confession was a byproduct of torture [JURIST report]. Earlier that August, the same judge ruled that Khadr's confession was admissible at trial [JURIST report]. Canada had previously declined to seek Khadr's repatriation [JURIST report] after his former lawyers obtained a ruling in 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]. 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, that ruling did not force the government to seek his repatriation.

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