Omar Khadr’s appeal of war crimes convictions gets help from U.S. court ruling on other Gitmo case

National Post

TORONTO — An American court decision in the case of an alleged al-Qaida recruiter Friday has cast further doubt on the war crimes convictions of Canada’s Omar Khadr.

In its split ruling, the appeals court set aside the military commission conviction of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, a Guantanamo Bay detainee who did media relations for terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

In essence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the conspiracy case against al-Bahlul was legally flawed because conspiracy is not a war crime — similar to arguments Khadr has made. The commission only had jurisdiction to try internationally recognized war crimes, the court said.

Khadr’s Pentagon-appointed lawyer was not immediately available to comment, but one of his Canadian lawyers said the decision undermines Khadr’s conviction and his appeal should now be allowed.

“By implication, (the ruling) pretty much seals the deal with respect to…

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