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GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - A Canadian accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan should not be tried as a war criminal because he was a child soldier for al Qaeda, too young to voluntarily join its forces, his military defense lawyer told a U.S. war court on Monday.
Navy Lt. William Kuebler asked a military judge to throw out the charges against Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, who was shot and captured at age 15 in a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.
"He is a victim of al Qaeda, not a member of al Qaeda," Kuebler said.
Khadr is the Toronto-born son of an alleged al Qaeda financier. He is accused of throwing a grenade that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer in the firefight and planting roadside bombs intended to kill other U.S. or coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.