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“Omar Khadr war crimes charges lack legal basis”

Posted in Talking Politics

Published on July 04, 2014 with No Comments

A previously secret Justice Department memo on CIA involvement in drone killings is casting new doubt on whether the American government had any legal basis to prosecute Canada’s Omar Khadr for war crimes.

The document emphatically rejects any such legal foundation, Khadr’s lawyers argue in new filings to the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review, which also suggest his convictions at Guantanamo Bay should be set aside immediately. The memo also raises questions as to whether the Canadian government knew Khadr’s conviction had no merit when it agreed to take him back in September 2012, the motion states.

“If not, then the United States appears to have misled one of its closest allies to wrongfully incarcerate one of its own citizens.” American forces captured a badly wounded Khadr, then 15, following a four-hour firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002. In October 2010, the Toronto-born Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes — including murder in violation of the law of war in the death of an American special forces soldier — and was handed a further eight-year sentence. It is unclear whether Khadr’s prosecutors knew about the CIA drone memo, which was not disclosed to his lawyers or the military commission trial judge. Khadr, who has said he only pleaded guilty to get out of Guantanamo, is currently serving out his sentence in an Alberta prison. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, who has repeatedly branded Khadr a hardened, dangerous terrorist and pledged to fight any attempt to lessen his punishment, would not comment on the memo.


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