US military judge refuses to set Khadr trial date pending Guantanamo records release

US military judge refuses to set Khadr trial date pending Guantanamo records release

[JURIST] US military judge Col. Peter Brownback again refused to set a trial date for Canadian-born Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] at a pre-trial hearing Thursday, threatening to suspend military commission proceedings against the Guantanamo detainee until the government submits daily records of Khadr's detention. Khadr's lawyers claim the government is stalling the prosecution under the Military Commissions Act [PDF text] to cover up abusive treatment at Guantanamo. In an affidavit released in March, Khadr claimed that US interrogators in Afghanistan threatened him with rape [JURIST report], physically abused him, and forced him to swear to false statements. The Toronto Star 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 April, Brownback ruled [PDF text] that Khadr was not a child soldier when he was captured in Afghanistan. Khadr's lawyers had asked for the case to be dismissed [JURIST report] 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.