Toronto man pleaded guilty to war crimes in 2010, appeals conviction

April 28, 2013 at 3:43 PM
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TORONTO, April 28 (UPI) -- A Canadian man who pleaded guilty in 2010 to five war crimes in Afghanistan will appeal his conviction, his attorney said.

Dennis Edney, the attorney for Omar Khadr, who at age 15 killed a U.S. special forces officer and committed other crimes, said his client was convicted on charges that are not internationally recognized as law of war charges, and if his appeal is successful he will walk free, CTV News reported Saturday.

The guilty plea was part of a plea-bargain on murder and terrorism charges, Edney said.

"We're arguing now that charges upon which he was convicted are not recognized internationally as law of war charges," he said.

Khadr, 26, of Toronto is being held in Ontario's maximum security Millhaven Institution. Until September, he had been held for 10 years at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, CTV News said.

"Omar Khadr was not tried in a properly constituted court, so we didn't have due process," Edney said. "There's nothing about the military commission that would give it any legality, in my mind, as being a properly constituted court."

While Edney said he is confident in the appeal since an American appeal court had overturned similar verdicts because the crimes did not exist under international law at the time of the incidents, this case could be more difficult because Khadr had pleaded guilty, CTV News said.

Edney said the appeal will be filed in a few weeks and believes it will be heard in approximately a year.

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