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Canada: Guantanamo prisoner can access files

Latest update : 2008-05-24

Canada's Supreme Court has ruled in favor of granting Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr access to Canadian classified intelligence in order to defend himself before a military tribunal.


Canada took part in an illegal process when it gave the United States the results of interviews conducted in Guantanamo Bay with terrorism suspect Omar Khadr, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.


The Canadian court said handing over the documents meant Canada had “participated in a process that was contrary to Canada’s international human rights obligations.”


In a unanimous decision, the court said Khadr was entitled to see at least some of the documents that Canada gave to the United States, to help him prepare for his trial at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.


Khadr, the only Western prisoner still held at the Guantanamo Bay prison, faces charges of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier and wounded another during a fight at an al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.


Officials of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service interviewed Khadr at Guantanamo the following year.


Now aged 21, Khadr was just 15 at the time of the fight and his supporters say Canada should push the United States to allow him to return. The Canadian government refuses, saying Khadr has been charged with a serious crime.


The Canadian court relied on U.S. Supreme Court decisions made in 2004 and 2006 on the Guantanamo process to conclude that Canada participated in a process that violated the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law.

Date created : 2008-05-23