Khadr says he was threatened with gang rape

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — Sentencing submissions in the case of Omar Khadr, the first juvenile prosecuted for war crimes in six decades, ended Friday with a story of a gang-rape threat.

In this Pentagon-approved photograph of a sketch by artist Janet Hamlin

In this Pentagon-approved photograph of a sketch by artist Janet Hamlin

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — Sentencing submissions in the case of Omar Khadr, the first juvenile prosecuted for war crimes in six decades, ended Friday with a story of a gang-rape threat.

In an unsworn statement, jurors heard how an American interrogator threatened the wounded 15-year-old Khadr.

“It is hard for me to talk about,” Khadr said in the statement.

“I know it does not change what I did, but I hope you will think about it when you punish me.”

In 2002, the Toronto-born Khadr was recovering at Bagram Air Base from grievous wounds sustained when he was captured in the rubble of a bombed out compound.

The statement essentially recounts evidence given at earlier hearings by former Sgt. Joshua Claus. On the stand, Claus admitted telling Khadr the tale of a young Muslim boy sent to a U.S. prison where “big black guys” gang raped him, possibly to death.

“This story scared me very much, and made me cry,” Khadr said in the statement, read to the court by his lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson.

Claus was later convicted in the beating death of another detainee.

During pre-trial hearings, Khadr’s defence team had tried to persuade the judge the threat, among other things, had coerced their client into confessing to killing an American special forces soldier.

The judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, previously ruled there was no credible evidence that Khadr was tortured.

The defence has now rested its submissions, and the seven military jurors were expected to hear closing sentencing arguments starting Saturday.

Khadr admitted on Monday to five war crimes, including the killing of Sgt. Chris Speer, 29, who was killed by a hand grenade the young Canadian threw in July 2002 at a compound in Afghanistan.

Under a pre-trial agreement, Khadr’s sentence will be capped at eight more years behind bars — the first of which is to be served in U.S. custody — although the jury can recommend any sentence up to life.

During several days of submissions this week, the panel heard emotional testimony from Speer’s widow, who branded Khadr a “murderer,” and read letters from Speer’s two young children.

They also heard from Khadr himself, who directed an apology to her, saying he was “really, really sorry” for the pain he had caused.

Other witnesses included a psychiatrist, who branded Khadr, now 24, a “highly dangerous” Islamic jihadist.

Dr. Michael Welner said much of his assessment was based on work done by a Danish psychologist, who has blasted Muslim “inbreeding,” insisted they can never assimilate into western culture, and are raised to be aggressive.

On Friday, Welner told The Canadian Press that his testimony had not been fairly reflected in various media reports. He said he stood by his opinions.

“(Khadr’s) mental-health experts were taken in by him and professed his innocence — only to have the rug pulled out from them when he pleaded guilty,” Welner said.

“Like his assertions of torture, which Judge Parrish described on the record (Thursday) as ’quite incredible,’ these fictions are part of what define the Khadr case and the Khadr lie.”

A defence witness, an American Navy captain who interacted extensively with Khadr in the prison camps of Guantanamo Bay, testified he found Khadr to be friendly and polite, and non-radical.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley was in Red Deer Wednesday and addressed a number of different political topics affecting central Alberta. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Notley talks RDC, UCP draft K-6 curriculum in visit to Red Deer

Rachel Notley had only proposed a solution hours before she arrived in… Continue reading

Photo by RANDY FIEDLER/Advocate staff BUDGET RURAL MEDICINE 2 - Dr. Fred Janke in his Sylvan Lake practice Wednesday. for story
Sylvan Lake doctor formerly accused of child sex crimes can practise again

Crown prosecutors dropped all charges against Dr. Fred Janke last November

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

This post is visible on a central Alberta business’s Facebook page. (Image from Facebook)
UPDATED: Rocky Mountain House store bars vaccinated customers

‘No proof the vax works and no proof it does not shed’

Red Deer community builder and Korean War veteran Don Holloway (shown here with his wife, Sylvia), died at the age of 88. (Photo courtesy of the City of Red Deer)
One of Red Deer’s last known Korean War veterans has died

Don Holloway, who died at age 88, was the city’s Honorary Senior Citizen in 2020

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

Letisha Reimer is shown in a photo, part of a memorial to her outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in Abbotsford, B.C., Monday, Nov.7, 2016. A B.C. Supreme Court judge is expected to deliver her decision today over whether a man who stabbed two high school students is not criminally responsible because he had a mental disorder. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geordon Omand
Judge to rule on criminal responsibility of man who stabbed two B.C. students

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge is expected… Continue reading

File photo
Expert says Saskatchewan should consider more targeted vaccine plan as variants surge

SASKATOON — Nazeem Muhajarine says he feels a sense of relief after… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising Canada will slash its… Continue reading

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
More supply needed to ease housing price crunch, but always more to do, Freeland says

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country needs a boost… Continue reading

Smoke pours from the stacks at the Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto on Thursday January 15, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Risk experts say climate change to take big chunk of Canadian economy by 2050

One of the world’s largest insurers says Canadians will be more than… Continue reading

A Blanding’s turtle (Gabrielle Fortin/Contributed)
Earth Day: Finding hope in an old sweater

During the pandemic, many of us have spent several months at home.… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says 1.7 million reusable masks have been ordered at a cost of $4.2 million.” (Advocate file photo).
Alberta teachers and education minister swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

EDMONTON — Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the group representing Alberta teachers… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Most Read