Canadian won't be tried at Guantanamo until after election

Miami HeraldSeptember 16, 2008 

The Pentagon Tuesday announced a Nov. 10 war crimes trial date for alleged Canadian teen terrorist Omar Khadr, meaning the terror murder trial will follow both the U.S. and Canada's elections and likely straddle American Thanksgiving.

Khadr, 21, is accused of throwing a grenade in a July 2002 firefight near Khost, Afghanistan, that killed a U.S. commando while American forces were assaulting a suspected al Qaeda compound. Conviction could carry a life sentence.

Last week, his military judge, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, canceled an earlier Oct. 8 trial date at a hearing in which defense and prosecution attorneys were still haggling over access to trial evidence and whether the government would permit a private mental health examination of Khadr.

The Toronto-born scion of a radical Muslim family was 15 years old when he was captured in the July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, where his father had earlier moved the family and sent his sons to al Qaida paramilitary training.

Khadr turns 22 at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. sent him after his 16th birthday.

Across months of pretrial hearings his Pentagon lawyers have telegraphed a defense that could alternately argue he did not throw the grenade from inside a suspect al Qaeda compound, was a child soldier at the time and not responsible for whatever happened.

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