Canada: high court rules government not required to seek Khadr repatriation

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Jan. 29 that while the treatment of Canadian Guantánamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr violated his rights, the government does not have to press for his return to Canada. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the interrogation of Khadr by Canadian officials while in detention violated section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to the ruling, Canadian officials questioned Khadr—who was captured at age 15—even though they knew he was being indefinitely detained. The ruling also found that in March 2004, he was questioned with knowledge that he was subjected to three weeks sleep deprivation by US authorities. Still, the court said that forcing the government to press for his return was not an appropriate remedy. The court reasoned that ordering such a remedy would overreach its authority by not respecting the power of the executive to act on issues of foreign affairs.

The Canadian chapter of Amnesty International urged the government to exercise its authority to remedy the violations of Khadr’s constitutional rights by immediately seeking “Omar Khadr’s repatriation from Guantánamo Bay back to Canada.” (Jurist, Jan. 29)

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