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Khadr lawyers denied client access amid ethics investigation

[JURIST] Lawyers for Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] were blocked from attending a scheduled Tuesday meeting with Khadr at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Officials have launched an investigation into the ethics of the defense team, and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bill Kuebler [JURIST news archive], 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 return to Canada for rehabilitation. Deputy defense lawyer Michael Berrigan denied [Toronto Star report] 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 Tuesday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announced that Canada will not seek Khadr's return [Globe and Mail report] and will await the outcome of the US proceedings before making further decisions regarding Khadr.

The military commission proceedings against Khadr are currently suspended [order, PDF; JURIST report] until May at the behest of US President Barack Obama. Earlier this month, Khadr's defense team presented a plan to return him [JURIST report] to Canada, a proposal supported by opposition members [open letter, PDF] of the Canadian House of Commons. Khadr has admitted to throwing a hand grenade [JURIST report] that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan, and was charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.

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