Guantanamo trial halted by lawyer’s illness to resume in October for young Canadian detainee

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guantanamo trial of Canadian to resume in October

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The trial of the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay will resume in October following a two-month delay caused by the sudden illness of his attorney, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The same jury panel of seven U.S. military officers will return to the U.S. Navy base in southeastern Cuba to pick up the proceedings against Omar Khadr on Oct. 18, according to Army Maj. Tanya Bradsher, the spokeswoman.

The trial has been on hold since Khadr’s only attorney, Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, collapsed in the courtroom shortly after opening arguments on Aug. 12. Jackson had recently undergone gall bladder surgery and was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington for treatment.

The new date was agreed to by defense and prosecution teams at a meeting Tuesday with the judge, Bradsher said.

The son of an alleged al-Qaida financier, Khadr was captured after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer of Albuquerque, New Mexico, during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan. He was 15 at the time.

Khadr, now 23, has pleaded not guilty to war-crimes charges including murder, conspiracy and spying. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted at the first Guantanamo trial under President Barack Obama.

The judge instructed the jurors not to read any reports on the Khadr case before sending jurors back to their military bases around the world.

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