Edmonton·Live Blog

Omar Khadr bail being challenged, Canadian government in court today

The federal government is in an Appeal Court in Edmonton this morning seeking to block convicted war criminal Omar Khadr's imminent release on bail.

Judge ruled in April that Khadr should receive bail pending his appeal on war crime convictions

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, in an undated image from Bowden Institution in Innisfail, Alta., was granted bail recently, but the federal government is in an Edmonton court Tuesday to fight his imminent release. (Bowden Institution/Canadian Press)

The federal government is in an Appeal Court in Edmonton this morning seeking to block convicted war criminal Omar Khadr's imminent release on bail.

The government is hoping for a stay of a lower court decision that Khadr should be released from the Bowden Institution, near Innisfail, Alta. — as early as today.

Khadr, 28, wants to be free while he appeals his war-crimes conviction in the United States.

A lower court judge agreed Khadr should get bail, arguing he poses no security threat.

Ottawa, however, says the judge had no right to grant bail and that Khadr's release would damage Canada's international relations. But the U.S. State Department said in a statement to CBC that releasing Khadr would not strain relations.

Khadr's lawyers argue the courts have spoken and the government is simply wasting tax dollars fighting their rulings.

In 2010, Toronto-born Khadr pleaded guilty to five war crimes — including murder for the death of an American special forces soldier — before a widely discredited U.S. military commission. He was 15 at the time he was linked to the offences in Afghanistan in July 2002.

He later said he only pleaded guilty to get out of Guantanamo Bay because the Americans could have held him indefinitely, even if he had been acquitted. 

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