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Trial of Youngest Guantanamo Defendant Delayed, Compromise Deal Sought


Entrance to Guantanamo's Camp V (file photo)

Entrance to Guantanamo's Camp V (file photo)

The military trial of the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay has been postponed for a second time, as attorneys on both sides are working on a potential plea agreement.

The trial of 24-year-old Canadian-born Omar Khadr was scheduled to resume Monday after a long delay, but the judge issued an order Thursday postponing the proceedings until October 25.

Khadr's defense lawyers say they are exploring a deal with the U.S. government that would allow their client to plead guilty and serve out his sentence in Canada.

The trial began in August, but was delayed after Khadr's U.S. lawyer became ill and collapsed in the courtroom.

Khadr is accused of the murder of a U.S. soldier during a battle in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15-years-old.

He has been held at Guantanamo Bay since his capture. His father is an alleged financier of al-Qaida and a close confidant of Osama bin Laden.

He could face life in prison if convicted in military court.

Any plea agreement involving Canada would have to be worked out between Washington and Ottawa. A spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the charges would have to be addressed in the United States. The spokesman denied reports that a deal had been reached.

Khadr's trial has drawn international criticism due to his age at the time of his capture. His trial is the first Guantanamo proceeding under U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

Mr. Obama criticized the military tribunals created under his predecessor, George W. Bush, during his 2008 presidential campaign and approved legislation that gives suspects greater legal protections.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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