Khadr is a danger, U.S. doctor says 0
Omar Khadr in a file photo. REUTERS/Handout
OTTAWA -- Omar Khadr is treated like a "rock star" by other terrorist inmates, American forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner says.
Welner has spent hours interviewing Toronto-born Khadr, guards at the American prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; as well as doctors and nurses who have treated Khadr.
In an interview with Sun News Network's Ezra Levant, he said Khadr is a danger.
"Within al-Qaida, within Guantanamo, he is viewed as royalty because he had so much closeness (to Osama bin Laden) and you can appreciate why his family today recognize him as a successor to his father," Welner told the host of The Source Tuesday.
Welner said Khadr has been marinating in jihadist thinking.
"He was asked to be leader of his cellblock and others. You think they want a moderate to be their leader?" he said.
"He is angry, he is alienated, he blames everybody else for being in the position he's in, and the media propagandists who cheerlead him only feed into that."
Khadr travelled to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Canada, the United States, and other allies, were fighting against the Taliban for harbouring the terrorist group al-Qaida after they carried out the attacks in Washington, D.C., and New York.
Welner rejects the idea Khadr was confused and following orders.
"Unlike your typical teenager, he had the opportunity to be at his father's side participating in official business, and unlike your typical 15-year-old, he travelled extensively," Welner said. "He was put into positions where he could be independent, make decisions, and his father was confident in him."
Khadr, 25, has been detained at the U.S. military base since he was captured at the age of 15 in battle in Afghanistan after he threw a grenade that killed U.S. combat medic Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer.
He signed a plea deal in 2010 to serve eight years of a 40-year sentence on five charges including spying and supporting terrorism. The Canadian government agreed at the time to look favourably on his transfer back to Canada after one year.