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Court upholds order to seek return of Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-14

A Canadian court has ruled to repatriate Canadian Omar Khadr, one of Guantanamo's youngest detainees, rejecting a government appeal against a previous court decision. Khadr was captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15.

AFP - An appeal court in Canada upheld Friday an order for the government to ask the United States to repatriate a young Canadian held at Guantanamo.
   
Omar Khadr was arrested in Afghanistan in July 2002 when he was 15 years old for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier, a charge he has denied.
   
He has been imprisoned at the US "war on terror" prison camp since October 2002 awaiting trial on charges of murder, conspiracy and support of terrorism.
   
A spokesperson for Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told AFP: "The government of Canada is reviewing the decision."
   
Ottawa may still bring its case to Canada's Supreme Court.
   
In April, a Canadian federal court judge had agreed with Khadr's lawyers that the government's steadfast refusal to request his repatriation infringed on Khadr's constitutional rights.
   
In that ruling, the federal court judge considered that Khadr was not granted special status as a minor by US authorities, and cited international canons such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
   
Ottawa has so far rejected pressure from opposition MPs, rights groups and others to bring Khadr home, saying repeatedly it would wait for the US proceedings to play out.
   
At the appeal court, the government argued it should have "unfettered discretion to decide whether and when to request the return of a Canadian citizen detained in a foreign country."
   
It is "a matter within its exclusive authority to conduct foreign affairs," said government lawyers, according to court documents.
   
But the appeal court ruled "there is no factual basis" that this order presents "a serious intrusion into the Crown's responsibility for the conduct of Canada's foreign affairs."
   
Also, "the Crown adduced no evidence that requiring it to request Mr. Khadr's return would damage Canada's relations with the United States," wrote Judge Marc Nadon in the decision.

Date created : 2009-08-14

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