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Chief Guantanamo judge insists dismissal of Khadr judge not political

[JURIST] The recent dismissal [JURIST report] of the US military judge presiding over the military commission trial of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] was not politically motivated, chief Guantanamo judge Marine Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann said Monday. Kohlman said that Col. Peter Brownback was removed because the Army did not renew his recall orders [official statement]. Khadr's defense lawyers had speculated that the dismissal was related to Brownback's threat in early May to suspend the military commission proceedings [JURIST report] against Khadr until the US government submits daily records of Khadr's detention; Kohlmann denied any connection. Reuters has more.

Khadr, 21, faces life imprisonment for crimes allegedly committed at the age of 15 while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying. In June Brownback dismissed the charges for lack of jurisdiction, but then a special military commission review tribunal reinstated [JURIST reports] them. Khadr's lawyers asked for the case to be dismissed [JURIST report] earlier this year, saying that it violated the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], which gives special protection to children under 18 involved in armed conflicts. Brownback rejected the claim and ruled [PDF text] that Khadr was not a child soldier when he was captured in Afghanistan.

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