Canadian judge’s ruling clears way for Khadr trial

Saturday, July 24, 2010 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

A court ruling that would have obliged Ottawa to repatriate Omar Khadr or intercede on his behalf while he’s in U.S. custody meddled with the federal government’s right to call the shots on foreign affairs, a federal appeal court judge says.

Federal Court of Appeal judge Pierre Blais’ ruling released this week effectively clears the way for the 23-year-old Canadian detainee to face trial in Guantanamo Bay next month.

Mr. Justice Russell Zinn of the Federal Court earlier this month gave the government a week to come up with a list of ways to help protect Mr. Khadr’s rights. Ottawa appealed that ruling, and this week, Judge Blais sided with the government. Judge Zinn’s order “results in a kind of judicial supervision over any diplomatic action that Canada may take in relation to [Mr. Khadr],” he wrote in the court’s decision.

“I am not at all convinced that Justice Zinn does effectively have the power to ‘impose a remedy.'”

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Khadr agrees to be defended by U.S. lawyer

Monday, July 19, 2010 – Globe and Mail
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Omar Khadr is willing to have his military-appointed U.S. lawyer defend him in court after all, his Canadian lawyer now says.

Calling the military commission a “sham process,” Mr. Khadr had tried to fire all his American lawyers last week – including military-appointed counsel Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson.

Military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish would not let him, and directed Lt.-Col. Jackson to consult his professional bodies, including the Arkansas bar, as to his obligations regarding Mr. Khadr’s defence.

Lt-Col. Jackson’s answer? Not only will he continue representing Mr. Khadr, but says he is “ethically required” to do so.

“Therefore, I intend to provide him with a zealous defence at his trial in August,” he said this weekend.

“Omar Khadr continues to be the victim in this case. I never envisioned a scenario in my career as an Army lawyer that would require me to defend a child-soldier against war crimes charges levied by the United States. I always believed we were better than that.”

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Defiant Khadr says he will boycott ‘sham process’

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA — After eight years in U.S. custody, Omar Khadr had the floor.

Appearing in a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Canadian terror suspect publicly explained himself in his own words for the first time Monday morning, condemning the military commission set to try him as a “sham process” so divorced from legal norms that he’s as well trained to defend himself as any lawyer.

“The unfairness of the rules will make a person so depressed that he will admit to any allegations or take a plea offer that will satisfy the U.S. government,” he said.

Guantanamo Bay’s youngest inmate, and its only Canadian, spoke more forcefully and at greater length than ever before. The 23-year-old expressed his contempt not only for the military tribunal, but for a plea deal offered to him within the past month.

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