GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE–U.S. interrogators tried to scare a young Canadian prisoner by making up a story about a skinny little Muslim gang-raped by black men at an American prison, an interrogator testified in the Guantanamo war crimes court on Thursday.
The testimony came in a hearing to determine whether statements that Toronto native Omar Khadr gave to interrogators can be used as evidence in his Guantanamo tribunal on charges of murdering a U.S. soldier with a grenade.
Defense lawyers contend Khadr’s statements were coerced during cruel and inhumane interrogations at Guantanamo and in Afghanistan, where Khadr was captured in a firefight at an alleged al Qaeda compound at age 15.
Khadr gave a false name and lied to interrogators who questioned him at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan shortly after his capture in 2002, a former soldier identified as Interrogator No. 1 testified by video link from Arizona. The interrogator, who was later court-martialed for abusing other prisoners, said he told Khadr he might have to go to prison if he kept lying.
He said he never directly threatened Khadr. But he said he tried to exploit Khadr’s fear by telling him a fictitious tale about a skinny young Afghan Muslim who was sent to an American prison and encountered “black guys and Nazis” who were “still mad about the September 11 attacks.”
“Apparently one time he was in the shower by himself and these four big black guys showed up in prison and say, ‘We know all about you Muslims’ … And it’s terrible if something would happen but they caught him in his shower and they raped him. This kid got hurt. We think he ended up dying,” No. 1 recalled telling Khadr.
Defense lawyer Barry Coburn said the interrogator’s “parable” was a death threat that constituted torture.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to press for Khadr’s repatriation and declined to comment on Thursday’s proceeding except to note through a spokesman that Khadr was accused of very serious crimes.