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Khadr’s military commision trial delayed after defense attorney became ill

Kadhr, far left on Thursday, Janet Hamlin/AP

Kadhr, far left on Thursday, Janet Hamlin/AP

This is a strange trial for so many reasons. And now, the Christian Science Monitor reports today:

The Guantánamo war crimes tribunal of a Canadian national accused of murdering a US special forces soldier in Afghanistan has been postponed for a least a month after his defense lawyer became ill during the first day of the trial.

Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson fainted and fell to the floor while attempting to question a witness on Thursday, according to reports by the Associated Press, Reuters, and other news organizations.

The lawyer was rushed from the courtroom to a medical facility on the US naval base in southeastern Cuba, where personnel determined that he should be flown to the US for treatment for suspected complications from recent gall bladder surgery.

Jackson is the only lawyer authorized to represent Omar Khadr, who is accused of murder, conspiracy with Al Qaeda, providing material support to Al Qaeda, and conducting surveillance for Al Qaeda. Mr. Khadr was represented by two American civilian lawyers, but he fired them both during pretrial hearings.

The Khadr case is the first contested war crimes tribunal of the Obama administration.

Officials expect the trial to resume in about 30 days with the same military jury comprised of seven officers – three women and four men. The trial itself is estimated to take about a month.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.