Omar Khadr is "al-Qaeda royalty" and remains a radical jihadist who poses a grave risk of returning to terrorist attacks, a forensic psychiatrist testifying for the prosecution said Wednesday as he painted a portrait of the Canadian as an unrepentant, dangerous Islamic extremist "marinated in the radical jihadism" at Guantanamo.
"He has murdered an American soldier, that's the ultimate prize" in terms of status among the hardened Islamic jihadists in the Guantanamo prisons, Michael Welner said in his second day of testimony at the sentencing phase of the Canadian's war-crimes trial.
Mr. Khadr, 24, could be freed soon after he returns to Canada a year from now if his Canadian lawyers win his early release based on the nine years he will have spent in U.S. custody.
Dr. Welner on Tuesday told the courtroom that Mr. Khadr's deeds made him a "rock star" at the camp. Dr. Welner studied the Khadr family by searching for videos on the Internet, questioned guards at Guantanamo and spent two days interviewing Mr. Khadr.
Dr. Welner has told the war-crimes tribunal that he was hired to assess Mr. Khadr's "risk of future dangerousness as a terrorist and jihadist." The New York-based doctor is best known for his "depravity scale," devised to assess particularly horrendous and violent crimes.
He resumed Wednesday morning with more grave - albeit vague - warnings.
"In my professional opinion that is part of what forms an impression," Dr. Welner said repeatedly as he referred to media reports, brief conversations with guards and a review of what he said was publicly available data on the Internet, to warn that Mr. Khadr was "highly dangerous."
Ominously, he warned, Mr. Khadr had the creditability, pedigree, charisma, and proven record as a killer that makes it likely he will emerge as an al-Qaeda leader.
"He will have an instant impact on the scalability of what al-Qaeda and the radical Islamic movement will have in Canada," he said.
"He is devout, angry and identifies with his family, which is radical and jihadist," Dr. Welner said earlier. He described Mr. Khadr, as "full of rage … he's bitter more than just angry … and he thinks it is everyone's else's fault that he is here."
The prognosis for deradicalizing Mr. Khadr - who has a plea bargain deal that will allow him to return to Canada after one more year in Guantanamo - was poor. "He wants to go to Canada," which is no surprise, Dr. Welner said on his first day of testimony, because "there are no deradicalization programs in Canada."
Defence lawyers are expected to present their own mental-health experts and the cross-examination of Dr. Welner promises to be compelling.
Impeaching Dr. Welner for his reliance on the work of Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist who ran a failed de-radicalization program, will be central to that cross-examination.
Among the controversial Dr. Sennels' more spectacular claims is that "massive inbreeding within the Muslim culture during the last 1.400 years may have done catastrophic damage to their gene pool.'' The Danish doctor also advocates paying Muslims to leave Western countries and claims that an Islamic upbringing fosters violence.
Dr. Welner claims he didn't read Dr. Sennels' book "because it was in Danish and I don't speak Danish,'' but sought his opinion and read articles by and about him.
Dr. Sennels, in an open letter in July decrying Turkey's bid to join the European Union, claims the Koran is a criminal book.
"It is a criminal book that forces people to do criminal things! From September 11th 2001 (do you remember…?) to July 28th 2010 there have been 15,373 confirmed murders motivated by the Koran and the inhuman example of the Muslim prophet."