CANADA OWES THIS JIHADIST NOTHING!! WELCOMING HIM HERE JUST GOES TO SHOW HOW WEAK WE ARE…
Khadr’s U.S. defence applies to court for clemency, reduced sentence
EDMONTON — U.S. defence lawyers for Omar Khadr have applied for clemency for the Canadian prisoner on the basis that last fall’s sentencing hearing in Guantanamo Bay was flawed and heard “improper expert testimony.”
Khadr’s eight-year sentence for terrorism crimes should be reduced to four because the prosecution “knowingly offered and relied on unscientific opinions” about Khadr’s likelihood to reoffend in order “to intimidate the sentencing panel,” according to documents seeking clemency.
The defence had no opportunity to challenge the prosecution’s key witness, psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, according to the memorandum from two military lawyers, U.S. army Lt. Col. John Jackson and air force Major Matthew Schwartz.
That’s because the prosecutors threatened to withdraw the pre-trial deal if Welner were challenged, say the lawyers.
The defence lawyers claim that, outside the courtroom, the prosecution improperly told them the Convening Authority (that oversees the tribunals) had given the prosecution the authority to withdraw — “and would in fact seek to withdraw” — from the pre-trial plea deal if the defence tried to challenge Welner’s expertise.
As a result, the prosecution “wrongly shielded Dr. Welner’s testimony from the standards of admissibility.”
The chief prosecutor, Navy Captain John Murphy, denied the allegations in an interview with Associated Press. Welner also disputed the defence brief as “slimy and pathetic.”
Khadr, who was 15 in 2002 when he was captured by U.S. forces, pleaded guilty on Oct. 25 last year to murdering an American soldier and other terrorism charges.
At the military tribunal, the jury of seven military officers recommended a sentence of 40 years. It was symbolic because a pre-trial agreement set the sentence at eight years, a fact unknown to the jury.
Dennis Edney, Khadr’s Canadian defence lawyer, said he and Khadr were not told of this “secret” manoeuvering over Welner’s testimony.
“Why is this only coming forward now?” said Edney, adding that “this is quite shocking.”
“This raises more questions about the fairness of the system.”
He also questions why no one was called to challenge Welner’s testimony though another U.S. psychiatrist, Dr. Marc Sageman, had agreed to testify for the defence.
At the trial, Welner described Khadr as a “dangerous” and “a radical jihadist” with a high likelihood to reoffend.
“Dr. Welner’s opinion regarding Omar Khadr’s risk of recidivism was designed solely to inflame and mislead the jury,” say the defence lawyers.
The fact that the jury recommended a sentence of 40 years — 15 years higher than the 25 years prosecution asked for — shows “that the tactic was effective.”
“The goal of military commissions presumably is not to strong arm an accused into pleas at any cost to justice.”
Jackson was unavailable for comment.
The documents also include Sageman’s assessment of Welner’s expertise in the field of terrorism.
Also included is a letter from Arlette Zinck, English professor at King’s University College in Edmonton outlining Khadr’s progress in a study program devised by Zinck and sent to Khadr through the U.S. defence team.
Zinck has marked three sets of assignments so far and finds that Khadr is a “motivated and capable student” and is steadily improving in English studies, math and other subjects and he reads constantly.
Khadr is expected to be back in Canada in November, said Edney, who has already submitted an application under the Transfer of Prisoners Act.