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Canada asked to repatriate Guantanamo 'terrorist'

world Updated: Aug 15, 2009 09:44 IST

In a significant decision, a top Canadian court on Friday asked the government to seek the release of a young Muslim Canadian from Guantanamo Bay jail.

Twenty-two-year-old Omar Khadr, whose Afghan father was a close ally of Osama bin Laden, has been in the American military jail for allegedly killing a US soldier in Afghanistan with a grenade seven years ago.

Toronto-born Khadr has been described as the only western being held by the Americans at the military jail in Cuba. Various international organizations, including Amnesty International and opposition parties have been pressuring the Conservative government to seek Khadr's extradition and try him under Canadian laws.

But the government has been reluctant to bring back a supected terrorist as it tightens anti-terror measures after the 2006 terror plot in which 18 people were arrested for planning London-style attacks on Canadian targets, including the storming of parliament and beheading of the prime minister .

In its ruling in April, the Federal Court of Canada had asked the government to seek return of Khadr under its obligations under international laws. But the government appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal.

In its 2-1 judgment on Friday, the Federal Court of Appeal threw out the government's petition.

After the ruling, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, "The Department of Justice will be examining that decision and obviously I won't be commenting until we see their analysis and their recommendations.''

The issue has been exploited by the country's left-wing media, including the Toronto Star, to boost their sinking circulation.