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Published: Fri, July 07, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Canada to Compensate Former Guantanamo Inmate, Opposition Furious

Canada to Compensate Former Guantanamo Inmate, Opposition Furious

He was sent to Guantanamo Bay for killing an American solider, U.S. Army Sgt. In that encounter, following a deadly firefight with Special Operations Forces, Khadr was the sole surviving occupant of a suspected Al Qaeda compound. While he pled guilty to various charges, including murder, and provided intelligence, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the circumstances during the interrogation were "oppressive".

The federal government is set to offer Omar Khadr an apology and more than $10 million in compensation for abuses he suffered during his detainment in Guantanamo Bay, according to multiple reports. A Canadian lawyer acting for the pair filed a notice of application in Ontario Superior Court on June 8, seeking an injunction to block any payment of compensation to Mr. Khadr.

Canadian citizen Omar Khadr was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15 after a firefighting with United States soldiers.

Tabitha Speer, the wife of Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, filed a wrongful death and injury lawsuit against Khadr in 2014. While at Guantanamo, he was sentenced in 2010 to eight years plus time already served for murdering a US soldier with a grenade, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and spying.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling out the federal government for using taxpayer money to compensate former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr.

Morris and Speer's widow previously sued Khadr in US court, winning a $134 million judgment.

They have acknowledged they may never see that judgment because Khadr lives in Canada, outside of the court's jurisdiction. Omar Khadr met al Qaeda figures, including bin Laden, and underwent terrorism training.

Detainees kneeling in a holding area at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2002
Detainees kneeling in a holding area at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2002

While in Ireland on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to confirm the settlement but also didn't deny the payout.

The application, if granted, would see the money from the Canadian government go to the widow and wounded soldier, rather than Khadr. Along the way several lawsuits were filed, based on accusations of Canadian complicity in alleged torture and abuse while in USA custody.

Upon his release from prison in 2015, Khadr asked Canada for "a fresh start" to continue his education, with the goal of working in health care after he apologized to the families of the victims.

Toronto lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo said the Ontario court would have to consider specific criteria in deciding whether to uphold the huge settlement.

Many people shared his outrage.

In 2003, however, Morris, the injured officer, told the Boston Globe he saw Khadr on the battlefield as a motivated and capable fighter.

Khadr is suing Ottawa for C$20 million and the government would have weighed the political damage of continuing to fight him in court, said Professor Audrey Macklin, chair of human rights law at the University of Toronto.

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