H/T: Henrik Raeder Clausen
In testimony this afternoon that literally had my jaw dropping, a forensic psychiatrist called by the U.S. government testified that Omar Khadr, the Canadian who yesterday pled guilty to a slew of terrorist acts including murder, is too dangerous to be released because he is sincerely religious and became even more devout at the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Dr. Michael Welner, a New York psychiatrist presented as an expert by the prosecution, spent most of the afternoon in a military commission hearing today explaining that in his expert opinion, Omar Khadr, captured in 2002 at the age of 15 and imprisoned by the U.S. ever since, is “highly dangerous.” Dr. Welner’s conclusions were reached, he explained, based largely on his understanding of the work of a psychiatrist in Copenhagen, Dr. Nicolai Sennels, who published a study of young Muslims in prison there. Although Welner admitted that he hadn’t actually read Dr. Sennels’s book because it was written in Danish, which Welner can’t read. He did have a conversation with Dr. Sennels about his theories and about Omar Khadr over the phone. Sennels apparently speaks English.
Welner also based his opinion on the written documents in the government’s file on Omar Khadr, on television interviews that Khadr’s relatives have given on English-language TV, and on one interview with Khadr in the Gitmo prison. And he relied on unspecified data given to him by the government about recidivism among Guantanamo inmates. The numbers of former Guantanamo prisoners who have turned to terrorism is hotly debated.