US military judge sets October date for Khadr trial

[JURIST] A US military judge at Guantanamo Bay Thursday set October 8 as the date for the military commission trial of Canadian-born Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive]. Khadr's military defense lawyer Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler said that judge Col. Patrick Parrish, who replaced Col. Peter Brownback [JURIST news archive] as presiding judge last month, is pushing ahead to complete the trial before President George W. Bush leaves office. Prior to his dismissal, Brownback had refused to set a trial date [JURIST reports] until the US government submitted daily records of Khadr's detention. Kuebler has speculated that Brownback's dismissal was related to his refusal to set a date, but the Pentagon has denied this assertion. Parrish has ordered prosecutors to turn over materials related to Khadr's interrogation at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, where Khadr was detained before his transfer to Guantanamo [JURIST news archive]. CBC News has more.

Khadr, 21, faces life imprisonment for crimes allegedly committed at the age of 15 while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying. In April, Brownback ruled [PDF text] that Khadr was not a child soldier when he was captured in Afghanistan. Khadr's lawyers had asked for the case to be dismissed [JURIST report] saying that it violated the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], which gives special protection to children under 18 involved in armed conflicts. Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled enemy combatants can challenge their detention in federal courts [JURIST report], a decision that puts the future of the commission process into doubt.



 

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