Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ottawa's file on Khadr full of errors

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TORONTO -- The federal government's file on Omar Khadr contains faulty information based on a memo prepared by a senior policy analyst for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, internal documents obtained by The Canadian Press suggest.

Among other things, the government alleges the late Osama bin Laden was an accomplice of a 15-year-old Khadr, and that the Canadian citizen killed two Afghan militia men. The assertions will help inform decisions Canadian prison and parole authorities make on Khadr.

The claims, which form part of Toews's decision allowing the Toronto-born Khadr, 26, to transfer from Guantanamo Bay to Canada last September, originated with a memo written in October 2011 as part of the transfer preparation.

The memo, by Liliane Keryluk, contains a series of statements reflecting Khadr's 2010 deal with a U.S. military commission in which he pleaded guilty to five war crimes, among them throwing a hand grenade that killed an American soldier.

However Keryluk's memo -- reprised in Toews's decision -- goes even further than American prosecutors. Her memo asserts: "Mr. Khadr engaged U.S. military and coalition personnel with small-arms fire, killing two members of the Afghan militia force. He threw and/or fired grenades at nearby coalition forces, resulting in numerous injuries to them."

Although someone inside the compound where Khadr was staying shot the two Afghans, nowhere in his signed admission, which was drafted by prosecutors, is there any suggestion he personally killed them. Keryluk refused to discuss her memo.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2013 A8

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