NEWS

Omar Khadr prison sentence appeal to be heard by Supreme Court

12/11/2014 10:15 EST | Updated 02/10/2015 05:59 EST
The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the federal government's appeal of a case involving former Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, inmate Omar Khadr.

In July, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that Khadr should be serving his time in a provincial facility and must be transferred from federal prison. The federal government appealed that decision.

At issue is whether Khadr should be treated like a youth in Canada's corrections system, since he was 15 at the time of his crimes in Afghanistan.

In 2010, Khadr agreed to plead guilty to five offences — including murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war and conspiracy in attacks on U.S. forces — during his trial at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay.

Ottawa argues the sentence given to Khadr by the U.S. military commission means he should be treated as an adult under Canadian law. The Alberta Court of Appeal disagreed.

Khadr, now 28, was transferred to Canada in September 2012 under the International Transfer of Offenders Act to serve the remainder of his eight-year sentence, which ends in October 2018. He is currently serving that sentence in a federal penitentiary in Innisfail, Alta., a small town near Red Deer.

The Supreme Court ordered Thursday that he not be transferred to a provincial correctional facility for adults until the outcome of the appeal is determined.

Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, said he was surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling, pointing to the unanimity of the Alberta decision.

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