[JURIST] The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy [official profile] on Friday renewed her call to transfer Canadian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee and convict Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] to his home country of Canada. Coomaraswamy said it was important to focus on rehabilitation of child soldiers [UN News Centre report] like Khadr, who was arrested in Afghanistan at age 15 and is the last child soldier detained at the Guantanamo facility. Khadr’s lawyers last month renewed calls [JURIST report] for the Canadian government to respond to a request to transfer Khadr to his home country. 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.
Khadr was charged after being captured subsequent to a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002 in which he threw a hand grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another. In August 2010 a military judge rejected Khadr’s claim that his confession was a byproduct of torture [JURIST report]. Earlier that month 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, even though they knew he was being indefinitely detained and that in March 2004 he was questioned with knowledge that he was subjected to three weeks sleep deprivation by US authorities. Regardless that ruling did not force the government to seek his repatriation.