Lawyers for Canadian detainee Omar Khadr were blocked from attending a scheduled Feb. 24 meeting with Khadr at Guantánamo Bay. Officials have launched an investigation into the ethics of the defense team, and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, a military lawyer for Khadr, e-mailed media outlets to state that the investigation was prompted by his own criticism of lead defense counsel Air Force Col. Peter Masciola. Kuebler accused Masciola of having a disqualifying conflict of interest after Masciola allegedly implied that Khadr should face an additional civil trial, contradicting the position of the defense team that Khadr should be returned to Canada.
Deputy defense lawyer Michael Berrigan denied that any such conflict of interest exists, and the entire defense team declined to discuss the specifics of the investigation. Officials confirmed that an investigation is underway but did not give further details. Also Feb. 24, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announced that Canada will not seek Khadr’s return and will await the outcome of the US proceedings before making further decisions regarding Khadr.
Military commission proceedings against Khadr are currently suspended until May at the behest of President Obama. Earlier this month, Khadr’s defense team presented a plan to return him to Canada, a proposal supported by opposition members of the Canadian House of Commons. Khadr has admitted to throwing a hand grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan, and was charged in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying. (Jurist, Feb. 25)
See our last post on Guantánamo Bay.
We depend on our readers. Please support our work: