The Blog

Omar Khadr Was Not Tortured

A military judge demolishes Khadr’s torture claims.

6:30 PM, Aug 23, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In the end, because Khadr would not testify concerning the affidavit’s contents, it was rebutted by virtually all of the evidence that was provided to the Commission, and since the defense did not explain how the affidavit came into existence in the first place, the judge gave little weight to Khadr’s torture claims.

There was one unfortunate and indefensible instance, however. An interrogator (“Interrogator #1”) told Khadr the fictitious story of a young Afghan who was sent to prison and gang-raped. Khadr’s defense counsel argued that this instance tainted everything that came after it, including even a videotape showing Khadr building improvised explosive devices and implanting them.

The judge disagreed, finding “there is no evidence such a story coerced or in any way caused the accused to make any incriminating statements at any time.” Instead, it was the discovery of the aforementioned videotape that led Khadr to talk. Quite separate from Interrogator #1’s sessions with Khadr, U.S. officials discovered the videotape in the bombed out compound where Khadr and other al Qaeda terrorists battled American forces. When Khadr was shown the tape, he stopped lying about his background and began cooperating with investigators.

The “credible evidence is that [Khadr] started to make incriminating statements only after he learned the Americans found the videotape,” Judge Parrish found. “No statement offered against [Omar Khadr] was derived from, the product of, or connected to any story Interrogator #1 told to the accused.”

Many “torture” claims have been floated in defense of Omar Khadr. But the only thing that was really tortured was the American military’s reputation.   

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers