May 23, 2008

Canada joined in illegal Guantanamo process: court

Omar Khadr is seen in this undated family portrait. REUTERS/Handout/Files

Reuters Photo: Omar Khadr is seen in this undated family portrait. REUTERS/Handout/Files

OTTAWA (Reuters) - 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.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Janet Guttsman)

Guantanamo Bay


Here's a lieing video about the circumstances.
Omar Khadr was NOT firing - he was shot!
Canada's behaviour has been disgraceful !
Enough war crimes coverup !

UPDATE: I just noticed that the court is holding a pre-release lockup to brief journalists on the issues that arose during the case. While this is by no means unprecedented - according to my gmail archives, it’s been done on two earlier occasions this year - it does suggest that the court - or at least, its media relations specialists - expect that it may be a particularly newsworthy ruling.

From McLean's magazine:

32147 Minister of Justice et al v. Omar Ahmed Khadr

Constitutional law ‑ Charter of rights ‑ Right to life, liberty and security of the person ‑ Evidence ‑ Disclosure ‑ Whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires disclosure of information collected by Canadian officials to assist a Canadian citizen accused in a foreign prosecution.

Omar Ahmed Khadr is a Canadian citizen currently detained by the United States in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was apprehended by the American military in Afghanistan in July 2002. In November 2005, terrorism-related charges were laid against him before a U.S. Military Commission in relation to events which are alleged to have occurred when Mr. Khadr was 15 years and younger. Prior to the charges being laid, Canadian officials interviewed Mr. Khadr in Guantánamo Bay. In Khadr v. Canada (Attorney General), 2004 FC 1394 (von Finckenstein J.), it was found that the Canadian authorities were conducting these interviews independently, for information gathering purposes with a focus on intelligence and law enforcement. Topics discussed with Mr. Khadr included matters which were the subject of the subsequent charges. The Canadian authorities passed on summaries of the information collected to the American authorities. Mr. Khadr obtained redacted copies of some of the documents in the Crown’s possession, through access to information requests and through production and disclosure in other Federal Court proceedings. On November 21, 2005, counsel for Mr. Khadr sent a letter to the Appellants asking for “copies of all materials in the possession of all departments of the Crown in Right of Canada which might be relevant to the charges raised against Mr. Khadr”, including all the content redacted from the documents previously obtained. Having received no response, Mr. Khadr brought an application for judicial review seeking an order in the nature of mandamus to obtain the documents in order to be in a position to make full answer and defence to the charges in the U.S.

The Federal Court considered Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 3, and Purdy v. Canada (Attorney General) (2003), 230 D.L.R. (4th) 361 (B.C.C.A.), and found that s. 7 of the Charter did not apply to Mr. Khadr’s circumstances since there was no sufficient causal connection between the actions of the Canadian officials and the deprivation of the right to life, liberty and security of the person that might ultimately be effected if the documents were not disclosed. On May 10, 2007, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision, found that s. 7 applied in the circumstances and remitted the matter back the to Federal Court to determine which documents would be released. On June 4, 2007, the charges against Mr. Khadr in Guantánamo Bay were dismissed “without prejudice”.

No comments: