US military judge replaces Khadr defense lawyer with civilian lawyers

[JURIST] A US military judge on Wednesday dismissed the military lawyer for Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] in accordance with Khadr's request. During Wednesday's brief hearing, Col. Patrick Parrish accepted the resignation [Miami Herald report] of Navy Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler [JURIST news archive], who will be replaced by former federal prosecutors and civilian lawyers, Barry Coburn and Kobie Flowers [professional profiles] of the Washington, DC firm Coburn & Coffman PLLC [firm website]. Court affidavits obtained by the Toronto Star allegedly detail [Toronto Star report] that Kuebler's performance had become detrimental to the defense, seeming paranoid and reckless, and going to the extent of witholding information from the legal team and from Khadr. Khadr asked to have his US military lawyers dismissed [JURIST report] in June for arguing and disagreeing among themselves. The disputes among the members of Khadr's US defense team arose from chief defense counsel Colonel Peter Masciola's efforts to dismiss [JURIST report] Kuebler as lead counsel for Khadr after Kuebler filed a formal complaint against Masciola alleging a conflict of interest. Khadr's case will resume on November 16, at the end of a review of the military commission system by the Obama administration.

The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] agreed last month to consider the Canadian federal government's appeal [JURIST report] of a Federal Court of Appeal [official website] decision [judgment, PDF; JURIST report] ordering the government to press for Khadr's release and repatriation. In August, the president of the Canadian Bar Association urged [JURIST report] the Canadian government to seek the repatriation of Khadr, days after the Federal Court of Appeal upheld an April lower court ruling [judgment, PDF, JURIST report] ordering the Canadian government to advocate for his return. Khadr has allegedly admitted to throwing a hand grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan, and was charged [JURIST reports] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.

 

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