Khadr trial delayed at least 30 days

Omar Khadr’s defence lawyer Lt.-Col. Jon Jackson is Omar Khadr's only lawyer and the trial cannot...

Omar Khadr’s defence lawyer Lt.-Col. Jon Jackson is Omar Khadr's only lawyer and the trial cannot resume until he is medically cleared. (BRYN WEESE, QMI Agency)

BRYN WEESE, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 7:50 PM ET

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba — Omar Khadr's historic war crimes trial has been delayed by at least 30 days while his lawyer recovers in hospital.

Lt.-Col. Jon Jackson, who collapsed in court here on the first day of the trial Thursday, was scheduled to be airlifted off the island to a mainland hospital for medical treatment this weekend.

It's believed his illness is related to gallbladder surgery Jackson underwent six weeks ago.

Thursday night, he was receiving Morphine for abdominal pain.

According to Bryan Broyles, deputy chief defense counsel for the United States' Office of Military Commissions, the trial will go ahead as planned next month.

"Nothing has changed with the Omar Khadr case except for the timetable. Lt.-Col. Jackson remains his (Khadr's) only attorney," Broyles said. “He (Jackson) is not going to be permitted to do very much over the next 30 days ... (but) the Khadr case is in his hands.

"In 30 days … we'll be back here picking up right where we left off."

In court Thursday, Jackson began coughing while cross-examining the government's second witness and reached for some water. He then asked the military judge for a brief five minute recess.

But seconds later, the towering Jackson — a former high school basketball player who stands around 6-foot-4 — fell to his knee before hitting the floor.

Emergency crews descended on the makeshift courthouse with sirens blazing around 4 p.m. and took Jackson to the naval hospital.

He was conscious in the courtroom shortly after collapsing but was taken to the ambulance on a stretcher.

Khadr, 23, is accused of killing a U.S. soldier in a July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, as well as attempted murder, conspiracy, spying, and supporting terrorism.

bryn.weese@sunmedia.ca


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