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U.S. military court denies Khadr’s attempt to rush appeal in order to escape war crimes

Since being released into Canada in 2013 after pleading guilty to five war crimes in relation to the death of U.S. soldier Christopher Speer, Khadr has attempted to appeal his conviction.

A U.S. military court has decided that it will not rush to hear Omar Khadr’s appeal on his war crimes conviction. 

Since being released into Canada in 2013 after pleading guilty to five war crimes in relation to the death of U.S. soldier Christopher Speer, Khadr has attempted to appeal his conviction. 

However, the U.S. government and now the Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR) has stated that Khadr can’t have an expedited hearing. Khadr’s case was put on hold by the commission while it awaited a civil court decision on the unrelated case of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul who was convicted for creating propaganda for Osama bin Laden. 

“We see no reason to vacate our abeyance in appellant Khadr’s case until the issues in al-Bahlul are decided finally by the D.C. Circuit or the Supreme Court of the United States,” stated the CMCR.

As part of his guilty plea deal, Khadr was able to escape a jury recommended 40-year imprisonment. In the plea, Khadr waived his right to appeal his conviction and was sentenced to only serve eight years in prison.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government echoed the commission’s latest decision when it stated that Khadr had only filed his challenge after pocketing the “agreement’s benefits.” 

“Khadr waited for years after the convening authority’s action to challenge his guilty plea and appellate waiver. He took no action until after he had pocketed the agreement’s benefits, received his 32-year sentence reduction and transfer to Canada, and was beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts,” claimed the U.S. government.

After being released into Canada, Khadr sued the federal government for allegedly violating his rights. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau settled with the convicted war criminal out of court and paid him $10.5 million, calling it the “best option” for Canada. 

Earlier this year, an Alberta judge ruled that Khadr’s charges had expired and that he was to be freed from all conditions including a ban on acquiring a Canadian passport. 

Meanwhile, the family of the slain soldier Christopher Speer is seeking to have a decision by an Utah court to award them $134 million (USD) enforced in Canada. 

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