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Terror trial figure fires his lawyers

MIAMI, July 12 (UPI) -- A young Canadian held at Guantanamo for almost eight years says he will ask the U.S. Army for permission to defend himself against terror charges.

Omar Khadr was captured eight years ago after a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Defense lawyers contend Khadr, 15 at the time, was coerced into confessing he threw a grenade that killed an American army medic, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

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Khadr, 23, has fired his lawyers and says he will either act as his own lawyer or boycott the trial proceedings.

Legal experts consider Khadr's decision a mistake.

"It's absurd to think, having spent a third of his life in confinement, that he would have enough ability to represent himself,'' veteran Miami criminal defense attorney Neal Sonnett says. "He obviously has missed out on an education and he certainly is not in a position to understand the rules or to know anything about possible strategy."

But a Canadian legal adviser to Khadr says the detainee is making a statement.

"He just doesn't want to participate in this charade anymore,'' Nate Whitling says. "He thinks it's an unfair process and he's just done playing their game, basically.''

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