Top military officials provided no explanation for why they dismissed the judge presiding over a key case at Guantanamo Bay.
The Miami Herald reports that the colonel presiding over the case had issued some rulings in favor of the defendant, Canadian national Omar Khadr.
Khadr’s case has been on track to be one of the first to trial at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba. Khadr, the son of an alleged al Qaeda financier, is accused of throwing a grenade that fatally wounded a U.S. Special Forces soldier.
Military prosecutors had been pressing Brownback to set a trial date, but he has repeatedly directed them first to satisfy defense requests for access to potential evidence. At a hearing earlier this month, he threatened to suspend the proceedings altogether unless the detention center provided records of Khadr’s confinement.
Kuebler said he believed the U.S. military is anxious for the trial to start before political pressure leads Canada to demand Khadr’s repatriation.
Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement describing the abrupt change without explanation as evidence that the war court, created by Congress in 2006, is “fundamentally flawed.”