updated 6/9/2006 11:25:52 PM ET 2006-06-10T03:25:52

The Federal Court ruled Friday that Ottawa cannot deny a Pakistani-born Canadian citizen a passport because of national security concerns due to his family's alleged ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

The ruling came as Canadians were reeling from 17 arrests in the Toronto area last weekend of Canadian citizens who allegedly plotted to blow up targets in southern Ontario and were inspired by al-Qaida.

The court said the government was wrong to deny Abdurahman Khadr's application to renew his passport two years ago, as new anti-terror provisions were not in effect in 2004.

While Khadr has denounced terrorism and once told The Associated Press that he had been a CIA mole, several family members are accused of ties to Islamic extremists. His brothers, Abdullah and Omar, have been charged with terrorist activities.

Toronto-born Omar Khadr is being held at Guantanamo Bay, accusing of killing an American soldier with a grenade in Afghanistan in July 2002. Abdullah Khadr is being held in Canada on a U.S. extradition warrant, accused of supplying weapons to al-Qaida.

Old rules must be applied
Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan ordered the Canadian Passport Office to reconsider Khadr's application under the old rules. New provisions allow the foreign minister to "refuse or revoke a passport in the interest of the national security of Canada or another country."

"I knew that justice would prevail and I believe in the Canadian justice system," Khadr told a news conference in Toronto on Friday. "I've received what was mine as a Canadian. I will not fail anybody; I will prove that I am a perfect citizen."

Khadr, who once said he was born into al-Qaida through no fault of his own, was arrested November 2001 in Pakistan as a presumed member of the terrorist group. He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay and then deported to Afghanistan before returning to Canada two years later.

Attorney Clayton Ruby told the news conference that the foreign ministry had wrongly denied Khadr a passport at the request of U.S. authorities.

"The notion that someone can refuse a Canadian passport on national security grounds because another country might find it upsetting is something that we found abhorrent," Ruby said.

Phelan's ruling appeared to agree.

"The principal reason for denying the passport — in the interests of national security — was based on concern about Canada-U.S. relations and public disapproval for issuing a passport to a member of such an infamous family," the justice wrote.

Siblings fought for al-Qaida
In a documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Abdurahman Khadr acknowledged his Egyptian-born father, Ahmed Said Khadr, and some of his brothers fought for al-Qaida and stayed with the terrorist group's mastermind, bin Laden.

The elder Khadr was killed in Pakistan in 2003 alongside some senior al-Qaida operatives.

The boys' mother and sister were interviewed for the same documentary in Pakistan, saying they were proud of their family's connection to the terrorists behind 9/11.

Abdurahman, the self-proclaimed black sheep of the family, has said he disagrees with his family's views. He said he now hoped to travel for vacation.

"For me to have my passport is just to feel like a full citizen," Khadr said. "I'd love to go on a vacation to Barbados. It's just a joy that I have that choice."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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