Canadian court orders PM to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoner back home

April 24, 2009 11:56 pm 

OTTAWA, April 24 — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday that he will appeal a court ruling which states the government must immediately take actions to bring back a citizen long jailed in Guantanamo Bay.

"The facts, in our judgment, have not changed. We will be looking at the decision very carefully and obviously considering an appeal," Harper told Parliament on Thursday.

A federal court judge ruled earlier that Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms obligates the prime minister to try to bring Omar Khadr, currently jailed in Guantanamo Bay, back to Canada.

Despite mounting pressure, Ottawa has always refused to take any actions to bring back Khadr, saying it is not proper to intervene in the U.S. legal process.

Khadr, who was arrested seven years ago as a 15-year-old for allegedly killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, has now spent six years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps charged with war crimes and providing support to terrorism.

As U.S. President Barack Obama ordered to close the prison, Khadr's fate was put in a holding pattern and there has been stronger pressure upon Ottawa to seek the release of the man.

"The ongoing refusal of Canada to request Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada offends a principle of fundamental justice and violates Mr. Khadr's rights," a federal court judge wrote in a 43-page ruling.

"To mitigate the effect of that violation, Canada must present a request to the United States for Mr. Khadr's repatriation as soon as practicable," says the ruling. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM/ebp

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