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Agence France Presse

US Court Rejects Canadian's Guantanamo Appeal

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WASHINGTON - A US federal appeals court has refused to review the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian who faces trial by a special military tribunal in October at the "war on terror" camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

However, the court's decision on Friday applied only to a request for a review of a pre-trial procedure, and would not necessarily prevent the judges from taking up the matter upon the delivery of a verdict.

Khadr was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15 years old. He was suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda and is on trial for allegedly throwing a hand grenade that killed a US soldier.

"Khadr seeks review of a preliminary procedural decision made in the course of the ongoing proceedings before the military commission. We dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction," said Judge David Sentelle of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

"The Military Commissions Act of 2006 limits our jurisdiction to review of 'final judgment[s] rendered by a military commission'.... The preliminary pretrial decision that Khadr contests is not such a 'final judgment'."

The US Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that detainees being held without charge at Guantanamo enjoy the constitutional right of habeas corpus, in a landmark ruling that should now give the prisoners and their legal teams the right to demand to know on what basis they are being held.

For years the Congress and President George W. Bush have sought to deny them the key right on the grounds that they are "enemy combatants."

© 2008 Agence France Presse

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