07/20/2012 10:23 EDT | Updated 09/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Toews' request delays Khadr's transfer to Canada

The federal government is shedding some light on why it hasn't asked the United States to transfer convicted war criminal Omar Khadr back to Canada.

In a letter to U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta dated July 19, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he wants access to videos of interviews that two psychiatrists conducted with Khadr, who is serving his eight-year sentence at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Toews also wrote that he wants uncensored versions of the psychiatrists' reports. Toews contends the information is necessary for the Canadian justice system to "effectively secure" Khadr and "appropriately administer his sentence in Canada."

Delay 'unconscionable'

Khadr's Canadian lawyers have said the federal government's delay in applying for the transfer is "unconscionable" and they've taken the first step to ask the federal court to intervene.

The plea bargain under which Khadr pleaded guilty to war crimes in 2010 made him eligible to transfer to a Canadian prison last fall.

Toews's letter indicates he has been provided with an uncensored report from one of the psychiatrists and a censored report from the other.

"To that end, I am now writing to formally request that you obtained the unedited and unredacted copies of the two videotapes and interviews of Mr Khadr," Toews writes.

"Once I have received these items, I will be in a position to render my decision."

The war crimes that Khadr was charged with include the killing of a U.S. army medic in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 years old at the time.