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Former Guantanamo detainee Khadr to appeal detention ruling

Lawyers for former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said Friday they are appealing a Canadian court ruling [text, PDF] that denied his habeas corpus application and held that his placement in a federal penitentiary is lawful. Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, argues that Justice John Rooke of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench [official website] erred both in fact and in law in his interpretation of the International Transfer of Offenders Act [text, PDF]. Edney said that as a young offender Khadr should be transferred to a provincial jail where he can access programs necessary to getting parole.

Khadr, who spent 10 years in Guantanamo, is currently imprisoned in a maximum security prison in Ontario, serving out six years of an eight-year sentence for war crimes. Khadr was born in Toronto and is the son of alleged al Qaeda financier Ahmed Said Khadr [CBC profile]. In 2010 Khadr pleaded guilty to a number of crimes as part of a plea bargain, including the killing a US solider in Afghanistan when he was 15. Khadr's lawyers hope that his conviction can be appealed on the same grounds as Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul [HRW profile; JURIST news archive], the media secretary for Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archive] whose conspiracy conviction was vacated by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website]. The DC Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that the military tribunal that convicted Al Bahlul of conspiracy in 2007 erred because a Guantanamo prisoner could not be convicted of conspiracy unless his crime took place after 2006. The court explained that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF] codified conspiracy as a war crime, but did not apply to crimes committed before the MCA was passed.

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