Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star
April 7, 2009
A Guantanamo judge has reinstated Omar Khadr’s chief military lawyer, Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, ruling that his superior did not have the power to fire him.
The latest development, just five days after Kuebler was told he no longer represented Khadr, adds more confusion to an already uncertain trial.
Air Force Col. Peter Masciola, Guantanamo’s chief defence lawyer, said he plans to appeal the decision.
“We believe the military judge has erred as a matter of law,” stated an email sent from Guantanamo by deputy chief defence lawyer Michael Berrigan.
Berrigan said the one-page ruling issued yesterday by Army Col. Patrick Parrish “did not review or make any determination concerning the underlying merits of Colonel Masciola’s removal of Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler for good cause” but stated that only “the military judge may authorize the removal of a detailed counsel.”
Kuebler could not be reached for comment. He has previously accused Masciola of a “conflict of interest.”
Khadr, now 22 and the sole Western detainee remaining in Guantanamo, was shot and captured at the age of 15 in Afghanistan. The Pentagon laid five war crimes charges, including murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that fatally wounded U.S. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer. The Toronto-born captive’s case is now suspended and under review by the Obama administration.
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