Lawyer to appeal diplomatic note

OTTAWA — The Conservative government’s decision not to seek Omar Khadr’s repatriation from a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is an “egregious” violation of the 23-year-old man’s rights, his lawyer said Tuesday.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government’s decision not to seek Omar Khadr’s repatriation from a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is an “egregious” violation of the 23-year-old man’s rights, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Khadr’s legal team will file an emergency motion in Federal Court Wednesday asking that it quash a decision by the federal government to ask the U.S. government to refrain from using any evidence gathered by Canadian officials in any future prosecution of Khadr.

“It’s an egregious violation to just completely not even allow us to write a letter or to even have notice of the fact that they are thinking of making a decision,” Edmonton lawyer Nathan Whitling told The Canadian Press.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced late Tuesday that the government made its request in a diplomatic note sent to Washington earlier in the day.

It was Ottawa’s first response to the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling that found the Canadian government’s participation in Khadr’s U.S. detention violated his constitutional rights. The ruling did not order the Conservative government to repatriate Khadr.

Nicholson said the government wants assurances that any evidence or statements gathered by Canadian agents and officials during interviews with Khadr in 2003 and 2004 not be used against him by U.S. authorities.

“In its ruling, the Supreme Court recognized the constitutional responsibility of the executive to make decisions on matters of foreign affairs, given the complex and ever-changing circumstances of diplomacy, and the need to take into account Canada’s broader interests,” Nicholson said in a statement.

Nicholson was unavailable for comment.

Whitling said the Justice Department simply ignored a letter that Khadr’s legal team sent last week requesting the right to make submissions about how to interpret the Supreme Court ruling. Ultimately, the lawyers would have argued that Khadr should be brought back to Canada, but they never got the opportunity to make that submission.