Khadr Trial Suspended

Omar Khadr at age 14. | Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/4wardever/3605491990/">4wardever</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a>).

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The terrorism trial of Omar Khadr has been suspended after Khadr’s only lawyer coughed, then collapsed in court on Thursday.

Khadr, who would be the first person to be tried for war crimes allegedly committed as a minor, was captured in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15. He is charged with throwing a grenade that killed Army Sgt. Christopher Speer.

Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, Khadr’s military lawyer, was evacuated from Guantanamo Bay on Friday and flown to the US for medical treatment. Khadr’s trial will be delayed for at least 30 days. Here’s Carol Rosenberg, reporting from the scene:

Former West Point law instructor Gary Solis, a retired Marine judge, said it is not unusual to suspend a military trial for a long weekend with instructions to a jury to not read media coverage. A 30-day delay that might send jurors back to bases around the world “is very unusual,” he said.

Jackson was put on “convalescent leave,” … a status that allows him to continue to draw a salary and not use up vacation days. [A base official] cited privacy reasons for not releasing the lieutenant colonel’s health condition. He was on a morphine drip Thursday night at the base hospital.

Jackson, who has been on the case for about a year, became Khadr’s lone lawyer within a week of [gall-bladder surgery six weeks ago] after the Toronto-born teen fired two volunteer civilian attorneys from Washington.

[Jackson was ordered] to stay on the case, but the Pentagon Defense Office provided him no additional assistance beyond two enlisted paralegals who had already been on the case. It was not known if Jackson had sought the assignment of an additional uniformed lawyer.

Khadr, who sits in court with three guards behind him, leaped to his feet when his Army defender collapsed about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to Khadr family lawyer Dennis Edney, who functions in the war court only as a consultant because he is not a U.S. citizen. The guards didn’t interfere.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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