Omar Khadr to appear in court as lawyers challenge his adult prison detention

EDMONTON – Former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr is expected be in an Edmonton courtroom today for an application to have his ongoing detention in an adult prison declared illegal.

It would be his first appearance in public since American soldiers captured him as a badly wounded 15-year-old in Afghanistan 11 years ago.

A spokeswoman for Correctional Service Canada confirms an order has been made for Khadr to appear in court.

Khadr’s lawyer says he wants people to be able to see his client, even though he will not speak during the hearing at superior court.

The Toronto-born Khadr, who turned 27 last week, last appeared in court in Guantanamo Bay, where he pleaded guilty to five war crimes in October 2010 before a U.S. military commission. In exchange for his guilty plea, he was given an eight-year sentence.

The federal government opposes the application and argues Khadr has been appropriately placed in an adult maximum security facility.

The legal arguments underpinning the application and government’s response are technical and based on provisions of the International Transfer of Offenders Act.

Transferred to Canada in September 2012, Khadr was first incarcerated largely in isolation at the maximum security Millhaven Institution in eastern Ontario before moving to the maximum security Edmonton Institution in May.

The federal government, which blocked a request by The Canadian Press earlier this year to interview him, insists Khadr is a dangerous terrorist who deserves to be treated as such.

Alberta Justice refused to say whether officials were taking any special security precautions for Monday’s appearance.

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