[JURIST] US military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish ruled Tuesday that Pentagon officials lacked the authority to dismiss Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler [JURIST news archive] as defense counsel for Canadian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials, JURIST news archive]. Chief defense counsel Colonel Peter Masciola reassigned Kuebler [JURIST report] earlier this month after Kuebler filed a formal complaint alleging that Masciola had a conflict of interest in overseeing the case. Parrish ruled that, under the rules of military tribunals, only a judge could remove a lawyer [AP report] under such circumstances. Kuebler further alleges that he was barred from accessing files and resources that he needed to work on Khadr's defense. Kuebler continues to maintain that Khadr should be sent back to Canada.
Kuebler has long criticized Masciola's handling of the case and in February stated that he had prompted the investigation [JURIST report] of the defense team's ethics based on Masciola's leadership. Khadr's defense team had presented a plan to return him [JURIST report] to Canada, a proposal supported by opposition members [open letter, PDF] of the Canadian House of Commons. Khadr has allegedly admitted to throwing a hand grenade [JURIST report] that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan, and was charged [JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.