Canada appeals court rules Khadr must be transferred from federal prison

[JURIST] The Alberta Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [text] Tuesday in favor of former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], ordering that he be transferred from a federal penitentiary to a provincial correctional facility. Khadr, a Canadian citizen now age 27, was captured by US forces after being found fighting in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15. He spent eight years in Guantanamo before being convicted on five charges and sentenced to eight years in prison for war crimes. The US transferred [JURIST report] Khadr to Canada in 2012 under the International Transfer of Offenders Act (IOTA) [text, PDF]. The appeals court overruled the lower chamber court finding that the judge had erred in interpreting provisions of the IOTA. The appeals court concluded:

the eight-year sentence imposed on Khadr in the United States could only have been available as a youth sentence under Canadian law, and not an adult one, had the offences been committed in Canada. ... Since Khadr was over 20 years old at the time of the transfer, he falls under s. 20(a)(ii) of the ITOA and therefore must be placed in a provincial correctional facility for adults.
The Canadian government plans to appeal [CBCNews report] the decision.

The US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] has been the site of recent prisoner unrest sparking renewed questions about the future of the installation. Earlier this week lawyers for Guantanamo detainees filed [JURIST report] an emergency application for a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from depriving the inmates of the right to pray communally during the month of Ramadan. In June the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit [official website] dismissed [JURIST report] a lawsuit brought by a former Guantanamo detainee against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. At the end of May a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order [JURIST report] allowing the military to resume force feeding a Syrian prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, stating that "the court is in no position to make the complex medical decisions necessary" to keep the prisoner alive.

 

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