Canada given deadline to help Guantanamo inmate

Mon Jul 5, 2010 5:38pm EDT
 
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian court on Monday dealt another blow to the government over its treatment of a young Canadian imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, giving Ottawa a week to work out a way to properly defend his rights.

The minority Conservative government has suffered a string of judicial defeats over Omar Khadr, who is facing trial at a special military commission this month on charges of murdering a U.S. medic in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15 years old.

Judge Russel Zinn of Canada's Federal Court said that if Ottawa did not come up with a reasonable remedy within seven days, he would impose one.

He noted one solution would be for Canada to formally request Khadr's repatriation, something Ottawa has refused to do on the grounds that he is accused of a serious crime.

Khadr's defenders say he was a child soldier when the alleged killing occurred and should be treated leniently.

U.S. interrogators concede that during his imprisonment they tried to scare him with tales of being gang-raped.

Zinn made his ruling in the wake of a decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada in January. The top court said Khadr's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been breached and ordered Ottawa to take appropriate action.

"I do not share the view that Canada, in its actions taken to date, has remedied the breach or that there are no other potential curative remedies available," Zinn said in his 43-page ruling.   Continued...

 
<p>In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, Canadian defendant Omar Khadr attends a hearing in the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. REUTERS/Janet Hamlin/Pool</p>