The jury who will decide Omar Khadr’s fate

Thursday, August 12, 2010 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

GUANTANAMO BAY — Omar Khadr’s trial begins in earnest Thursday, with lawyers set to give opening arguments after days of grilling would-be jurors and settling on a seven-person panel to decide the fate of the first person tried in the Obama administration’s war-commissions process.

Next come witnesses for the prosecution and defence; the trial will likely go for weeks before a verdict is reached.

Eight of the original 15 members of Mr. Khadr’s jury pool were dismissed Wednesday, after lawyers made arguments to get rid of potential jurors they worry would not be sympathetic to their arguments.

Prosecution lawyer Jeff Groharing tried to convince military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish to jettison jurors who expressed reservations about Guantanamo Bay, detainee treatment and trying 15-year-olds as adults.

Continue reading

With a polite introduction of the accused, jury selection begins in Khadr trial

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA — A fighter pilot from the first Gulf War; a former military policewoman; a battalion commander who lost troops to an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.

Omar Khadr got his first glimpse of the people who will decide his fate in a Guantanamo Bay courtroom Tuesday. Lawyers for the prosecution and defence spent hours quizzing 15 panel members on everything from their views on al-Qaeda and prosecuting juveniles, to the ages of their children and their military experience.

The session offered a look at the individuals – all members of the U.S. armed forces – who will decide not only the verdict in the 23-year-old Canadian’s case, but also his sentence in the event of a conviction.

Continue reading

Lawyer’s illness delays Khadr trial for a month

Saturday, August 14, 2010 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

GUANTANAMO BAY — Eight years after he was taken into U.S. custody, five years after charges were first filed and just a day after opening arguments, the latest obstacle to Omar Khadr’s war-crimes trial going forward is not a defence motion, a Supreme Court ruling or a president hoping to close Guantanamo Bay. It is one lawyer in a lot of pain.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson, the military-appointed lawyer Mr. Khadr tried to fire last month and the only person authorized to represent him in the trial that could lock him up for life, was to be evacuated from Guantanamo Bay after collapsing in court Thursday.

Continue reading