Supreme Court Rejects Omar Khadr's Appeal to Overturn War Crimes Convictions

Supreme Court Rejects Omar Khadr’s Appeal to Overturn War Crimes Convictions

Supreme Court rejects Omar Khadr’s appeal to overturn war crimes convictions, reaffirming his guilty plea for the killing of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.


In a significant ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Omar Khadr, a former Guantanamo detainee of Canadian origin, who sought to overturn his war crimes convictions. 

Khadr’s charges included the killing of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer in Afghanistan.

Khadr had initially waived his right to appeal when he pleaded guilty to the charges in 2010. 

His legal team later argued that a ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington cast doubt on whether Khadr could have been charged with these crimes in the first place. 

Despite this argument, a divided three-judge panel maintained that Khadr had forfeited his right to appeal.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson did not participate in the Supreme Court’s deliberations on Khadr’s appeal due to their previous involvement as appeals court judges. 

While Jackson explained her recusal, Kavanaugh did not.

Khadr, who was 15 at the time of his capture, was taken into custody by U.S. troops after a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan. 

He was accused of throwing the grenade that killed Sgt. Speer was subsequently detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Khadr’s plea deal resulted in an eight-year prison sentence, which included time already served. 

He was released in May 2015 while his appeal was pending.

In 2019, a Canadian judge ruled that Khadr’s war crimes sentence had expired, effectively ending his legal battles within the Canadian judicial system.

This Supreme Court decision concludes Khadr’s long legal journey, reaffirming the terms of his original plea agreement and convictions.


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