Canada's top court to hear Guantanamo inmate case

Fri Sep 4, 2009 10:37am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the federal government of lower court decisions that ordered Ottawa to press the United States to release a Canadian imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, the court said on Friday.

Two courts have already told the Conservative government it must ask Washington for the return of Omar Khadr -- a Canadian citizen and the last Western inmate at the U.S. prison in Cuba -- on the grounds that his rights have been infringed.

The court will hear the government's appeal on November 13 this year. It usually takes between six to eight months to issue a ruling but the court is likely to reveal its decision more quickly in this case, given the sensitivity of the matter.

The government has consistently shrugged off pressure to intervene in the Khadr case, saying the 22-year-old is facing serious charges.

The United States accuses Khadr of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier and wounded another during a firefight in 2002 at an al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan. Khadr was 15 at the time.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<p>Canadian defendant Omar Khadr (L) sits with his defense team during a hearing inside the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, July 15, 2009, in this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin which was reviewed by the U.S. military. REUTERS/Janet Hamlin/Pool</p>