Military Judge Threatens to Suspend Khadr Terror Trial Over Evidence Issue

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A military judge has sided with the defense in pretrial proceedings in the the controversial terrorism case of a Canadian suspect captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan at age 15.

Unless the military turns over to defense lawyers by May 22 a prison log of Omar Khadr’s treatment at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, where he has been held since age 16, says Army Col. Peter Brownback III, he will “abate”—i.e., suspend—the proceedings, reports the Miami Herald.

Khadr’s lawyers, a military officer and a civilian Pentagon attorney, both have security clearances, Brownback noted. They are seeking the prison log to help support their claims that some evidence against Khadr should be suppressed because it was improperly obtained, given the circumstances of some interrogations. It isn’t clear why prison officials are reluctant to provide the log, the newspaper reports. Khadr is now 21, and his trial is expected to take place this summer.

“Brownback is believed to be the first war court judge to threaten to ‘abate’ the proceedings if the prison camp’s command staff does not turn over the evidence,” the Herald writes.

As discussed in earlier posts, Khadr’s family reportedly is closely associated with Osama Bin Laden and has prominently displayed al-Qaida sympathies. He is accused of participating in a firefight between the Taliban and U.S. troops, in which he allegedly threw a grenade that killed a medic. Khadr, who was the only survivor on his side, was injured in the battle.

Additional coverage:

Canwest News Service: “Judge balks at setting July date for Khadr trial”

CBC News: “Judge threatens to suspend Khadr trial”

Toronto Star: “Khadr lawyers allege cover-up of U.S. abuse” “Canada’s Top Court Considers Controversial Khadr Case” “Lawyer Barred, Other Defense Issues as Khadr Military Trial Looms” “Khadr, 20, Starts 6th Year at Gitmo Jail”

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