Monday, August 2, 2010

Attorney Asks Supreme Court to Stop Guantanamo Prosecution

Full Story Here
(CNN) -- The youngest detainee at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility is to be tried next week by a military commission -- with a life sentence as one possible outcome -- and now his lawyer has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to stop it.

Omar Khadr was 15 when he was apprehended in southeast Afghanistan in 2002, accused of lobbing a grenade that mortally wounded a U.S. medic. He also is accused of receiving one-on-one training from al Qaeda and being caught on a surveillance video making and planting roadside bombs where U.S. troops traveled.

Now 23, he faces trial at Guantanamo on August 10, on charges of murder and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and spying.

Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was born in Toronto, also is the only Westerner still held at the Guantanamo facility.

Initially, President Barack Obama's order to close the Guantanamo facility postponed the trial and left the case in limbo. But last November, his case drew the attention of Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder made headlines that month by announcing that five detainees accused of complicitity in the September 11, 2001, attacks would be transferred to New York City to stand trial in a civilian court. At the same time, he clarified the status of Khadr and four others -- saying they would face military commissions.

The five due for trial in New York included the professed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Later, after local officials objected to the costs and potential security threats, the administration backtracked, putting the issue under review.

That leaves Mohammed in legal limbo for now, as Khadr faces trial in a matter of days.

But his military attorney, Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the military commission trial.

Jackson said in a statement accompanying the petition that "the sad truth is that military commissions are discriminatory" and provide "only second class justice."

"If you are a citizen, like the Times Square bomber, you get all the protections of federal court. If you are a non-citizen, you are tried by military commission," he said. "This kind of discrimination is something we cannot stand for as a country."

He said that in previous wars, citizens and non-citizens received the same standard of justice.

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