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Khadr seeks dismissal of US military defense lawyers

[JURIST] Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] Monday asked to have his US military lawyers dismissed [CBC report] for arguing and disagreeing among themselves. The disputes among the members of Khadr's US defense team arose from chief defense counsel Colonel Peter Masciola's efforts to dismiss Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler [JURIST news archive] as lead counsel for Khadr after Kuebler filed a formal complaint against Masciola alleging a conflict of interest. Although Khadr eventually agreed to keep Kuebler on the case for the time being, he maintained his desire to have Canadian lawyers Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling, who were not present on Monday, represent him. Military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish said Monday that Khadr could meet with his Canadian lawyers before making a final decision about dismissing his US counsel. Kuebler continues to argue that Khadr should be returned to Canada [JURIST report]. Monday's hearing was the first military commission hearing to be held since President Barack Obama delayed [JURIST report] the military commission tribunals in January. He has since said he wants to revive the commissions [JURIST report] with additional due process protections.

In April, the Federal Court of Canada ruled [JURIST report] that Prime Minister Stephen Harper must advocate for Khadr's repatriation based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom [text]. Soon after the ruling, an official for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs [official website] confirmed [JURIST report] the government’s intention to appeal. After Masciola removed Kuebler [JURIST report] from the case, Parrish reinstated him [JURIST report], ruling that Masciola did not have the authority to remove counsel. Kuebler has long criticized Masciola's handling of the case and, in February, stated that he had prompted the investigation [JURIST report] of the defense team's ethics based on Masciola's leadership. Khadr has allegedly admitted to throwing a hand grenade [JURIST report] that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan, and was charged [JURIST report] in April 2007 with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.

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