Pentagon Fires Omar Khadr’s Defense Attorney
The more things change, the more things stay the same — at least with this administration:
He had become the most vocal opponent of the trial of Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr, taking on a position more akin to politician than lawyer and launching a two-year public and media campaign that landed him on the front pages of newspapers and inside glossy magazines.
But U.S. Navy lawyer William Kuebler’s role as the Pentagon-appointed defender of 22-year-old Khadr came to an end today when he was fired from the case.
An internal investigation by Guantanamo’s Chief Defence lawyer, Col. Peter Masciola, had been launched into Kuebler’s conduct in February following months of backroom fighting among the Pentagon’s defence team. Kuebler had accused Masciola of a “conflict of interest.”
Kuebler was dismissed for the improper supervision and management of Khadr’s defence team, according to an email sent Friday night by Guantanamo’s Deputy Chief Defence lawyer Michael Berrigan. Kuebler’s re-assignment was “in the best interests of Omar Khadr, and necessary to pursue a client-centered representation.”
Reached in his office today, Kuebler said he could not comment. A press release, issued on his behalf, lashed out at Masciola, saying he was acting “to support he agenda of military prosecutors.”
Col. Masciola certainly has an interesting conception of “client-centered representation.” He blocked Kuebler from seeing Khadr in February, and one of Khadr’s Canadian lawyers has made it clear that Khadr himself was not involved in the decision to fire Kuebler — and may not even know about it.