Confessed war criminal, terrorist and murderer Omar Khadr hopes the jury imposing his sentence knows that a U.S. military interrogator threatened to have him gang-raped to death.
"This story scared me very much and made me cry," the burly Mr. Khadr, now 24, told the seven senior U.S. military officers in an unsworn statement read by his lawyer.
Joshua Claus, a former U.S. army interrogator, convicted of assault in connection with the beating death of an Afghan detainee at the U.S. detention centre in Bagram, Afghanistan, boasted under oath that he told young detainees a horrific tale of an Afghan boy gang-raped to death by "four big black guys" to persuade them to confess.
Mr. Khadr, then a gravely wounded 15-year-old, shot twice in the back and half-blinded by shrapnel, was captured after a firefight during which a U.S. special forces medic was killed.
Mr. Claus's testimony at a pretrial hearing last April will never be heard by the military panel because Mr. Khadr pleaded guilty in a pretrial deal that will likely result in his return to Canada next year.
Mr. Khadr can't be cross-examined on his unsworn statement. The manoeuvre, however, made the panel aware of the threats of gang-rape and the clear - but unsubstantiated - suggestions that Mr. Khadr was abused and tortured while in U.S. military prisons.
"I ask that you consider this letter about what happened to me at Bagram in 2002," Mr. Khadr's statement begins. "I know it doesn't change what I did but I hope you will think about it when punishing me."
Closing arguments in the sentencing phase of Mr. Khadr's war crimes trial will be heard Saturday morning.
The military panel knows Mr. Khadr has pleaded guilty and knows he has agreed to a long set of facts; including admitting he was an al-Qaeda terrorist, wanted to kill Jews and Americans, built roadside bombs and tried to kill civilians.
What the panel doesn't know is the details of the plea bargain. The panel's sentence will only take effect if it is shorter than the eight-year deal reportedly agreed by Mr. Khadr and U.S. prosecutors.
Ottawa still insists it has no role in the repatriation elements of the deal, but Colonel Patrick Parrish, the military judge in the case, has said he will release the exchange of diplomatic notes regarding Mr. Khadr between the Harper government and the White House.