[JURIST] US military lawyers for Canadian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Omar Khadr [Trial Watch profile] are preventing Khadr from speaking with Dennis Edney, his Canadian civil lawyer, in advance of a hearing scheduled for next week, Edney told Reuters Wednesday. Edney said the ban came after he had publicly differed with Khadr's military lawyers and faulted their conduct. In a comment on JURIST's Hotline last month, Edney claimed that Khadr's appointed US military counsel was violating his "fundamental right to counsel of choice" by purporting to represent him, despite Khadr's expressed intention to represent himself before the tribunal, with Edney acting as a foreign lawyer consultant.
Under revised Guantanamo trial rules, defendants can represent themselves or have US military defense lawyers appointed. Foreign and civilian lawyers can join the defense but only as advisors, if they obtain US security clearances and if someone other than the US government pays the bill. Khadr reportedly fired his US attorneys [JURIST report] last year and then fired them again [JURIST report] in May. Reuters has more.
Khadr was detained in Afghanistan in 2002 after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban. He was only 15 at the time. Early US military commission proceedings against him were effectively quashed by the US Supreme Court's rejection of presidentially-established military commissions [opinion text] as unconstitutional in June 2006. He was formally recharged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April of this year under the new Military Commissions Act [PDF text] with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism as well as spying. Those charges were later dismissed by a military judge as improper but were subsequently reinstated [JURIST reports] by the new US Court of Military Commission Review. Khadr's lawyers are currently attempting to appeal that ruling [JURIST reports] to a US federal court.