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Canadian Guantanamo detainee Khadr fires US lawyers

[JURIST] Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive], the nineteen-year-old Canadian citizen who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] for more than four years, wrote a letter to his mother last week telling her that he has fired his US lawyers, the Globe and Mail reported Friday. A US military lawyer appointed to represent Khadr, Lieutenant-Colonel Colby Vokey, said the move demonstrates Khadr's fragile state of mind and that Khadr has no reason to trust his American captors, as the government has confiscated Khadr's legal files, denied him access to a telephone, and otherwise attempted to interfere with his case preparations. One of Khadr's Canadian lawyers, Dennis Edney, has called upon the Canadian government to facilitate a trip to Guantanamo Bay so Edney can meet with Khadr for the first time after repeated denials.

Of the approximately 450 men still detained [DOD press release] at Guantanamo, Khadr is one of only 10 prisoners who have been charged. He is accused [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] of throwing a grenade while in Afghanistan that killed a US Green Beret and of planting mines to blow up US convoys. Khadr's lawyers last month requested his extradition to Canada [JURIST report] following the US Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [opinion text] where the Court held that the military commissions as initially constituted by the Bush administration lacked proper legal authorization [JURIST report]. The Globe and Mail has more.

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