Top court says Canada complicit in Guantanamo case

Fri May 23, 2008 7:04pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

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 to the United States 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 in late summer or early fall.

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 (CSIS) interviewed Khadr at Guantanamo the following year.

Now aged 21, Khadr was 15 at the time of the fight and his supporters say Canada should push the United States to allow him to return home. The Canadian government has refused, 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 had participated in a process that violated the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law.

"The violations of human rights identified by the United States Supreme Court are sufficient to permit us to conclude that the regime providing for the detention and trial of Mr. Khadr at the time of the CSIS interviews constituted a clear violation of fundamental human rights protected by international law," Friday's decision said.   Continued...

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