Edmonton

Omar Khadr bail application violates U.S. plea deal, Ottawa says

The federal government says Canadian courts have no authority to grant Omar Khadr bail while he appeals his war crimes conviction in the United States.

Granting bail to Khadr would damage U.S. relations, federal government says

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr is shown in an undated handout photo from the Bowden Institution in Innisfail, Alta. Khadr is seeking bail pending disposition of his appeal in the United States against his disputed conviction for war crimes. (Bowden Institution/Canadian Press)

The federal government says Canadian courts have no authority to grant Omar Khadr bail while he appeals his war crimes conviction in the United States.

And even if they do have the power, they should still refuse to release him, the government argues in a new legal brief prepared in response to Khadr's bail application.

It also says that granting bail to Khadr would undermine public confidence in the justice system, subvert international law, and damage Canada's relations with the U.S.

The document notes that Khadr pleaded guilty before a U.S.military commission in Guantanamo Bay and waived his right to appeal the conviction.

It also states his transfer to Canada to serve out his sentence was done under a treaty that required the American legal proceedings to have been final.

Ottawa says Khadr's bail application, which will be heard on March 24 and 25 in Edmonton, constitutes a "direct violation" of his plea deal.

Twenty-eight-year-old Khadr, who has admitted to five war crimes-- committed as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan in July 2002 -- has said he only pleaded guilty to get out of Guantanamo.

Khadr has also applied for parole, which will be heard in June.

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