Judge scolds Ottawa for lack of action on Khadr

Federal Court gives government a week remedy breach of Charter rights

It’s been eight years since a 15-year-old Omar Khadr was shot and captured on an Afghanistan battlefield—and his battle in the courts continues to drag on. A brief review of his Supreme Court challenges: In 2008, the high court ruled that the government violated Khadr’s Charter rights by dispatching CSIS agents to grill him at the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison camp at a time when detainees had no access to lawyers or independent courts. To compensate for the breach, Ottawa was ordered to release all the Canadian evidence gathered during those CSIS interrogations, including hours of videotape that show Khadr pointing to his bullet wounds and begging the unnamed spy to take him home. Along with those recordings came a damning memo written in 2004 by a Canadian bureaucrat, who said Gitmo guards subjected the teenager to three weeks of sleep deprivation in order to make him “more amenable and willing to talk” to visiting Canadian officials. Armed with that revelation, Khadr’s lawyers went back to the Supreme Court, arguing a further Charter breach and demanding that Stephen Harper ask the Americans to send Khadr back to Canada. In January, though, the Supreme Court sided with the feds, saying that although Canadian officials contributed to Khadr’s mistreatment, it would not be “appropriate for the court to give direction as to the diplomatic steps necessary to address the breaches of Mr. Khadr’s Charter rights.” What Ottawa did instead was send the Americans a diplomatic note, asking that the U.S. not use any of the intelligence gleaned in those CSIS interrogations against Khadr during his upcoming military prosecution. But today, the Federal Court chimed in yet again, saying that the government’s note wasn’t remedy enough. The prime minister now has seven days to come up with something else that provides Khadr with “procedural fairness and natural justice.”

Toronto Sun