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US military judge drops charges against Canadian Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] The military judge presiding over military commission proceedings against Canadian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Omar Khadr [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] Monday dismissed all charges [order, PDF] against Khadr, citing a lack of jurisdiction. A Guantanamo Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials] found that Khadr was an "enemy combatant," not an "unlawful enemy combatant" as required under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text]. Khadr may remain in US custody despite the dismissal of charges. US State Department Legal Advisor John Bellinger [official profile], said last week that the United States might not release Khadr [CP report] even if he was acquitted, asserting that the the US would still have the right to detain him as an enemy combatant in the war on terror.

Khadr, formally charged [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] in April with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, as well as spying, was 15 years old when he was detained in 2002. Khadr allegedly threw a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Last Friday, Khadr's Canadian civilian lawyer said that Khadr would not work out a plea deal [JURIST report] with the US military because it would require Khadr to serve 30 years in prison on terror charges. CBC News has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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