Canada's Top Court Considers Controversial Khadr Case

A controversial case concerning an al-Qaida terrorism suspect who has been held in U.S. custody since he was 15 years old is being argued in Canada’s highest court today, where counsel for Omar Khadr is contending that the defense should be given access to documents concerning an interview of him by Canadian investigators at Gitmo.

His lawyer says information provided by Canadian investigators to U.S. authorities after they interviewed Khadr at the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could prevent him from having a fair trial in the U.S. if it is not also shared with the defense, Reuters reports. Nathan Whitling also told the Supreme Court of Canada that Canada should not have participated in an interview of Khadr at Gitmo that he described as violating international human rights law.

“Another lawyer for Khadr, Dennis Edney, told reporters after the court hearing that the U.S. military prosecution’s case against him was unraveling, partly as the result of documents that had been disclosed already,” the news agency writes. “This emphasized the need for more disclosure, he said.”

As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, Khadr, a Canadian citizen who is now 21, was captured in Afghanistan and is accused of throwing a hand grenade that killed a medic during a battle with U.S. troops. His trial before a military tribunal at Guantanamo is now expected to begin in July.

Concerns have been expressed generally about the fairness of the military tribunals, by ABA President William H. Neukom and other bar groups. However, Khadr’s case has drawn particular attention, because of his age at the time he was captured in Afghanistan. Edney has also repeatedly complained that he is not being allowed to represent Khadr in a standard and appropriate manner.

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