Clinton wades into Khadr negotiations

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking part in the diplomatic pressure to seal a deal in the Omar Khadr case, according to a CNN report.

Quoting two unnamed sources, the news network said Clinton was scheduled to discuss the case Wednesday evening with her Canadian counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

There was no immediate response from Cannon, who is on a two-day visit to China.

Cannon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had dismissed reports of a negotiated settlement in the case when news leaked of a plea deal last Thursday.

But sources close to the case who spoke to the Star said that both Khadr, and the Pentagon’s top Guantanamo official, have already signed an agreed statement of facts in the case.

The recommended sentence is reportedly eight years — seven to be served in Canada. One source said that Khadr would not be given credit for the eight years he has already served awaiting trial.

It is likely Ottawa would not formally become involved in the case until there is a guilty plea and sentence, and Khadr applied for a transfer here. But sources said behind the scenes there has been a flurry of diplomatic notes and discussions between the countries, seeking assurances that Canada would not block the transfer.

Khadr is scheduled to appear before the military judge, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, in a Guantanamo military courtroom Monday when it will become clear as to whether he will accept a negotiated plea.

In the past, the Toronto-born detainee has refused deals that required him to confess to murder.

Sources close to the case in both Canada and the U.S. have said that the Obama administration is eager to dispense of the Khadr case with a guilty plea — rather than a trial.

Khadr’s prosecution would be the first to proceed under the Obama administration and has drawn criticism from the UN and civil rights organizations since Khadr was 15 at the time of his alleged crimes. Now 24, Khadr was shot and captured in a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002.

His case is also unique as he is the only U.S. captive charged with killing an American service member in Afghanistan. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer died 10 days after the July battle where he received fatal injuries in a grenade blast.

Speer’s widow Tabitha, is expected to testify at Khadr’s sentencing.

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