Khadr’s Lawyers Want to Push On With Torture Witness
GUANTANAMO BAY — While Col. Patrick Parrish dealt Omar Khadr’s lawyers a setback yesterday by ruling that the government will have four weeks to conduct its own psychological examination of the 23-year old Canadian detainee before the defense can present its own mental health experts, the defense is trying to press on. Attorneys for Khadr expect to call their non-mental health witnesses before the mandated pause in the pre-trial hearing. And that includes “Interrogator #1,” the anonymous interrogator who intends to testify to personally threatening Khadr with rape while Khadr was a 15-year old detainee at the Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.
Whether that will actually happen is a different story. Much is in flux: The prosecution still has four more witnesses to call this week, as well as this afternoon’s cross-examination of someone we only know as “Interrogator #2,” an Army master sergeant who testified this morning to interrogating Khadr at Bagram. While the prosecution expects its remaining witnesses to testify fairly quickly — at least one of them is a medic who administered life-saving medical care to Khadr after he sustained severe gunshot wounds during his July 2002 capture by U.S. forces — this hearing so far has been characterized by unexpected procedural snags. Parrish has still not said anything in court to instruct counsel on whether his ordered psychological exam effectively stops the hearing after the government finishes presenting its witnesses.
(Unrelatedly, half an hour ago, the Defense Department announced that two Guantanamo detainees were transferred yesterday — under my nose! — to “the custody and control of the governments of Bulgaria and Spain.” No names have been provided. The detainee population now officially stands at 181.)