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Khadr lawyer reassigned after criticizing lead Pentagon defense lawyer

[JURIST] The US Navy on Friday reassigned Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler [JURIST news archive], a military lawyer who had been in charge of defending Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials, JURIST news archive], after Kuebler filed a formal complaint against a military official overseeing the case. Kuebler had worked on the case for two years before he was fired after alleging [Globe and Mail report] that the military's chief Guantanamo defense lawyer, Colonel Peter Masciola, had a conflict of interest in overseeing the case. Kuebler said Masciola should be removed from the case because Masciola said Khadr should also face civil liability for the alleged killing of a US soldier, despite his role overseeing Khadr's defense. Khadr is the only Canadian citizen currently being held in Guantanamo, and Canadian officials have said they may investigate [Star report] the circumstances surrounding Kuebler's removal.

Kuebler has long criticized Masciola's handling of the case, and in February said [JURIST report] that he had prompted an investigation of the defense team's ethics based on Masciola's leadership. In January, a US intelligence official said in pre-trial testimony that Khadr admitted [JURIST report] he threw a grenade that killed a US soldier in 2002. He has been charged [text, PDF] with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, and spying. In January, US President Barack Obama [official profile] ordered [text; JURIST report] Secretary of Defense Robert Gates [official profile] to halt all military-commission proceedings involving Guantanamo detainees pending a review of their detentions. That month, a military judge granted [text, PDF] the Obama administration's request for a continuance of Khadr's case until May 20.

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