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Legal manoeuvring creates uncertainty for Khadr trial

TORONTO - Omar Khadr's military lawyer says legal manoeuvring by the Pentagon has created uncertainty for those facing trials at the Guantanamo Bay prison, including Khadr.

TORONTO - Omar Khadr's military lawyer says legal manoeuvring by the Pentagon has created uncertainty for those facing trials at the Guantanamo Bay prison, including Khadr.

Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler tells the CBC that charges against all defendants were recently withdrawn, and then re-issued.

Kuebler says in an email the procedure - known as "withdrawal and re-referral" - has the legal effect of nullifying all prior proceedings.

He says the directive withdrawing charges calls for a new arraignment the day before U.S. president-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Khadr's military trial was set to begin six days after Obama is to take office.

Khadr, a Canadian citizen, has been at the prison since 2002, when he was 15. He is accused of killing a U.S. Army medic in Afghanistan.

Kuebler speculates the move could be aimed at making it difficult for Obama to keep his pledge to close the prison and shut down the controversial military commission process.

He adds lawyers for "high-valued detainees" feel it's directed toward getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings to plead guilty to military commission charges before Obama takes office.

 
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