The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 09/3/2014 3:01 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 09/3/2014 3:27 PM
TORONTO - Potential embarrassment to the U.S. should not stop former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr from alleging in an expanded civil suit that Ottawa conspired with Washington to torture him and breach his rights, Federal Court heard Wednesday.
In fact, Khadr's lawyer John Phillips argued that doing so would allow a thorough airing of how the Americans treated him during years of detention.
"If this matter proceeds, I suspect the United States will be embarrassed by what comes out of the process," Phillips told Judge Richard Mosley.
"(And) Canada is potentially liable for the torture and other punishment that was visited on Omar in Guantanamo."
Khadr wants to expand his $20-million lawsuit against the Canadian government to include the allegation that Ottawa conspired with the U.S. to detain him indefinitely and otherwise abuse him at Guantanamo Bay.
For its part, federal lawyers argued international law does not allow Khadr to drag the U.S. into his civil action, first filed in 2004.
They also maintained that any abuses Khadr suffered at Guantanamo could be dealt with under his current statement of claim.
"He says he wants to affix Canada with U.S. acts alleged," said government lawyer Barney Brucker.
"(But alleging) conspiracy is not necessary."
Among other things, documents show Canadian agents went down to the infamous U.S. prison in 2003 and 2004 to interrogate the Toronto-born Khadr after first agreeing to share any intelligence with his American prosecutors.
Khadr's military captors then subjected him to sleep-deprivation — known as the "frequent flyer" program — to soften him up for interrogation by the Canadians, previously released documents show.
Mosley, who reserved his decision, seemed disinclined to stop Khadr from trying to prove conspiracy — if the lawsuit gets to trial.
"There was clearly an effort to investigate and build a case against the plaintiff," Mosley observed.
"That was something Canada took part in."
Last December, Mosley ruled the proposed amendments to the lawsuit needed to be rewritten before the claims could be heard on their merits at a trial.
Phillips noted Canada made no effort to repatriate its citizen or to help Khadr deal with a prosecution under a military-commission process the U.S. Supreme Court itself ruled illegal in 2006.
He also pointed out that the Supreme Court of Canada later found that Ottawa had violated Khadr's rights.
"I beg you to let this case proceed as pleaded," he said to Mosley.
"We can't have child soldiers treated the way they've been in Guantanamo by this government."
The U.S. government has denied torturing Khadr, 27, who pleaded guilty to five war crimes in October 2010 before an American military commission for incidents that occurred in Afghanistan when he was 15.
The Americans had arrested him in July 2002 following a brutal firefight in which he was terribly injured and an American special forces soldier was killed.
He was returned to Canada in September 2012 and is currently incarcerated in Alberta.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
B.C. lawyers vote down Christian law school
A look at new Conservative family tax breaks
Canada farm quotas hold up big trade deal: US
How much surplus will be left after tax cuts?
Dishevelled man wows crowd on street piano
Government underspending on military gear
Mulcair slams Sun cartoon as racist
Jian Ghomeshi cancels B.C. speaking event
Will broad family tax relief equal votes?
Bourque faces harshest sentence in 50 years
Woman's Montreal subway death ruled accidental
Perjury trial hears of meeting between officers
Bacon the pig no longer a ham on the lam
Prince Charles gives to slain soldiers' fund
Senator wants changes to prostitution bill
Senate still out $45K for expense claims
Jobs focus of Chinese trade mission: Couillard
Alberta, Lubicon reboot talks with Prentice trip
Wynne on Doug Ford: 'we are very different'
CBC offers counselling in wake of Ghomeshi affair
RCMP requests for subscriber data not tracked
NDP members stalling committee work
Manitoba reserves lag in ability to fight fires
GG pays respects to Cpl. Cirillo at memorial
UN official praises Canada's stand on Iran
Reserves need $28M for fire protection: report
CMHC expects steady housing market in 2015
Today on the Hill: Charge it!!!!!!!!
TransCanada files application for Energy East
Accept refugee health-care ruling, court told
Legal standoff in the U.S. as elections loom
BDSM meant to push sexual boundaries
Harper to make major fiscal announcement