Prime Minister of Canada, et al. v. Omar Ahmed Khadr

(Federal) (Civil) (By Leave)




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Constitutional law - Charter of Rights - Right to life, liberty and security of person - Fundamental justice - Remedy - Crown prerogative in matters of foreign relations - Interviews conducted in Guantanamo Bay by Canadian officials who knew that Canadian child had been subjected to sleep deprivation techniques - Refusal of the Canadian Government to repatriate its national - Whether the courts below erred in finding that the Respondent’s rights under s. 7 of the Charter were breached - If such a breach occurred, whether the remedy was appropriate and just in the circumstances.

Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was taken prisoner in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old and has been detained by U.S. Forces since 2002 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is currently facing murder and other terrorism-related charges. During his detention, Mr. Khadr was given no special status as a minor. He was not allowed to communicate with anyone outside Guantanamo Bay until November 2004, when he met with legal counsel for the first time. The Canadian Government has asked, through diplomatic channels, for consular access and other assurances, but it is its policy not to request his repatriation until the conclusion of the prosecution. In 2003, Canadian officials questioned Mr. Khadr, still a minor, at Guantanamo Bay, with respect to matters connected to the charges he is now facing, and shared the product of these interviews with U.S. authorities. In 2006, after formal charges were laid against him, Mr. Khadr sought disclosure in Canada of, notably, the records of the interviews conducted at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court of Canada ordered the disclosure (“Khadr 2008”). After the information was disclosed, it became clear that when the officials interviewed Mr. Khadr, they were aware that he had been subjected to a form of sleep deprivation, known as the “frequent flyer program”, to make him more amenable and willing to talk. Mr. Khadr asked the Canadian Government to repatriate him, but to no avail. He sought judicial review of the policy and decision of the Canadian Government not to seek his repatriation. The Federal Court granted his application and ordered the Government to seek his repatriation from the U.S. as soon as practicable. In a majority decision, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the Government’s appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

April 23, 2009
Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division

T-1228-08, 2009 FC 405
Application for judicial review allowed
August 14, 2009
Federal Court of Appeal

A-208-09, 2009 FCA 246
Appeal dismissed