Omar Khadr could move one step closer to a trial on murder charges Thursday, with his lawyer near the end of legal tactics aimed at delay.
Khadr will make another pre-trial appearance in front of a U.S. military judge at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Thursday where military Judge Peter Brownback is expected to dispense with some or all of the legal motions filed by Khadr's lawyer, U.S. Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler.
"It really looks at this point like the delay tactics are running out, and perhaps we're looking at a trial sometime this summer," the CBC's Bill Gillespie reported from Guantanamo Bay.
Brownback has turned down or dealt with all but 16 of the 50 motions Kuebler has filed since January in an attempt to buy time for his 21-year-old Toronto-born client. Kuebler has challenged the legitimacy of the court and accused the U.S. government of withholding information that could be helpful for his client.
Khadr, who is awaiting trial...... blah blah blah, we heard all this before...... He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Kuebler claims the military commission that will try his client will be unfair and has been specifically designed by the White House to ensure convictions.
Foresees life sentence
"This is a brand new system designed to convict the detainees, so there are a lot of challenges we are obligated to bring we would not bring in an ordinary case," Kuebler said.
Kuebler predicts Khadr will be given a life sentence. He had been hoping to delay the trial until after the November election when a new U.S. president is elected, one who might decide to close Guantanamo.
He is also hoping the delay will give Canadians more time to get to know Khadr through the hearing process, which may spur the public to pressure the Harper government to bring Khadr home and be dealt with in Canada.
Kuebler said that Khadr will make a symbolic gesture on Thursday and stand up when the judge enters the courtroom, something Khadr has refused to do in his six appearances.
Many of the inmates have boycotted the process of the military commission, saying it is illegitimate.
"The reason, Kuebler says, [Khadr] will stand up is to show he will play by the rules," Gillespie reports.
"Not to say the court's legitimate, but he wants to send a message back to people in Canada that if Canada was to bring him back … he's willing to be a well behaved citizen to follow a normal life. He's not a threat."