Canada Supreme Court rules for Khadr in government documents access appeal

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] unanimously ruled [text] Friday that Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] has a constitutional right to see confidential documents compiled by Canadian officials following interviews with Khadr in prison, but found that the government could withhold some information for national security purposes. Lawyers for Khadr expressed disappointment with the verdict, saying that it is unlikely that the government will turn over many of the documents they were seeking. Khadr sought documents that Canada allegedly provided to US authorities, along with videotapes of Khadr's 2003 interrogations at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and uncensored transcripts. In May 2007, the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal overruled a lower court decision [judgment text] barring Khadr's access to government documents. In October 2007, the Supreme Court agreed to hear [JURIST report] the appeal by Canadian Justice Department lawyers opposing the access. CTV News has more. CBC News has additional coverage.

Khadr, now 21, faces life imprisonment after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2002. He was charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying. Khadr is one of four [JURIST report] Guantanamo detainees prosecuted under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text]. On March 13, a US military judge ruled [JURIST report] that some correspondence between US and Canadian government officials regarding Khadr must be turned over to Khadr's defense team. In an affidavit released earlier this month, Khadr said that US interrogators in Afghanistan threatened him with rape, physically abused him, and forced him to swear to false statements [JURIST report].

 

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