US military judge drops charges against Canadian Guantanamo detainee

US military judge drops charges against Canadian Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] The military judge presiding over military commission proceedings against Canadian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Omar Khadr [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] Monday dismissed all charges [order, PDF] against Khadr, citing a lack of jurisdiction. A Guantanamo Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials] found that Khadr was an "enemy combatant," not an "unlawful enemy combatant" as required under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text]. Khadr may remain in US custody despite the dismissal of charges. US State Department Legal Advisor John Bellinger [official profile], said last week that the United States might not release Khadr [CP report] even if he was acquitted, asserting that the the US would still have the right to detain him as an enemy combatant in the war on terror.

Khadr, formally charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying, was 15 years old when he was detained in 2002. Khadr allegedly threw a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Last Friday, Khadr's Canadian civilian lawyer said that Khadr would not work out a plea deal [JURIST report] with the US military because it would require Khadr to serve 30 years in prison on terror charges. CBC News has more. Reuters has additional coverage.