Khadr US military lawyer will provide “vigourous defense”

[JURIST] A US military lawyer for Omar Khadr announced Saturday that he will vigorously defend Khadr at his US military commission trial scheduled to begin next month. Khadr fired his US civilian lawyers earlier this month and requested that his US military lawyer be fired as well. Judge Patrick Parrish denied Khadr’s request and ordered US Army Lt-Col. Jon Jackson to remain Khadr’s lawyer and provide him with a defense at trial.

Jackson initially said that he was in a tricky ethical position and that he needed to consult his own supervisors and the bar in his home state of Arkansas on this key question: Should a lawyer mount a vigorous defence even if his client wants no defence to be mounted? Ultimately, he concluded that he was ethically bound to provide a zealous defense for Khadr.

At a pre-trial hearing held last week, Khadr informed the court that he had previously rejected a plea deal offered by the US government, which would have resulted in a five-year prison sentence. Khadr told the court that the agreement was a ploy by the US government to look good in the eyes of the international community and that he would not be used to achieve US goals. He also said the agreement would have been used to excuse the torture and abuse of a child. Khadr also informed the court that he did not wish to mount a defense at trial because he believed the outcome would be the same regardless of his defense and that he had no hope of obtaining justice through the legal process.

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