[JURIST] A judge for the Alberta Court of Appeal [official website] on Thursday ruled that former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive] can be released on bail while he appeals his US war crimes conviction. According to Justice Myra Bielby, the ruling was based on her belief that there was “no clear evidence there would be irreparable harm if he was released.” The judge also rejected arguments [CNN report] made by government lawyers that Khadr’s release would damage Canada’s foreign relations. He will be required under the terms of his bail to live with his attorney and submit to electronic monitoring and a curfew. Khadr, 28, is a Canadian citizen who was captured by US forces at the age of 15 after being found fighting in Afghanistan in 2002. He spent eight years in Guantanamo before being convicted on five charges and sentenced to eight years in prison for war crimes. The US transferred [JURIST report] Khadr to Canada in 2012. A lawyer for Khadr requested [JURIST report] his client be released on bail in March, arguing that given the amount of time his appeal was taking to process, Kadhr’s sentence could be completed before a decision could be reached.
The US military prison at Guantanamo [JURIST backgrounder] has continued to generate controversy. In February the US Department of Defense overturned [JURIST report] a rule that would have attempted to speed up the litigation process in military commission prosecutions by requiring judges to relocate to Guantanamo. In January a group of US senators proposed legislation [JURIST report] that would place a moratorium on the releases or transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo. Also in January a lawyer for former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks said the US government admitted the conviction was incorrect [JURIST report] and did not dispute Hicks’ innocence.