Canada seeks top court terror extradition appeal

AP News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 5:16 PM
Canada seeks top court terror extradition appeal

The federal government asked its top court Friday to overturn a ruling to suspend the extradition of a Canadian man to the U.S. on charges he supplied al-Qaida with weapons.

Abdullah Khadr had been held in Canada on a U.S. warrant since his December 2005 arrest before he was released last summer. He is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly purchasing weapons for al-Qaida and plotting to kill Americans abroad.

He was released after two provincial courts in Ontario suspended his extradition, ruling statements he made to the FBI and Canadian police while he was detained in Pakistan in 2004 were the result of torture.

The federal government said Friday that Canada's ability to comply with its international obligations could be compromised if the decision suspending Khadr's extradition is allowed to stand.

"This case raises issues of national importance that require consideration by this court," the federal government states in its leave-to-appeal request.

Last August, Ontario Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer decided there were sufficient grounds to send Khadr to the U.S. based on self-incriminating statements he'd given the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

However, Speyer suspended the extradition, saying the United States had violated fundamental justice with its involvement in Khadr's "shocking" mistreatment during 14 months detention in Pakistan.

In May, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Speyer's ruling.

Judges are not required to sacrifice important legal rights and democratic values to ensure a proceeding against an alleged terrorist goes forward, the Appeal Court decided.

In its memorandum of argument to the Supreme Court, the federal government said Speyer failed to weigh the impact of extraditing Khadr versus the effects of stopping the extradition.

Khadr's lawyer Dennis Edney calls the feds' appeal case "entirely devoid of merit."

"Its present application fails to identify even an arguable ground of appeal, much less a legal issue of public importance," Edney said.

Khadr's father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an alleged al-Qaida militant and financier, killed in 2003 when a Pakistani military helicopter shelled the house where he was staying with some senior al-Qaida operatives.

A brother, Omar Khadr, is the last Western detainee to beheld at Guantanamo Bay. Omar plead guilty Oct. 25 to war crimes charges that included murder for throwing a grenade that mortally wounded an American soldier in Afghanistan. As part of a pretrial agreement for his guilty plea, Khadr, now 24, is to be released from Guantanamo and sent back to his native Canada by Nov. 1.

The CIA paid Pakistani authorities a US$500,000 bounty to detain Abdullah Khadr in October 2004. The U.S. alleges Abdullah Khadr bought AK-47 and mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and containers of mine components for al-Qaida for use against coalition forces in Afghanistan. He allegedly bought the weapons at the request of his father, authorities said.

After Pakistani intelligence officers detained Abdullah Khadr in 2004, he was returned to Canada in 2005. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested him at the request of the U.S.