Former Gitmo inmate to receive $10 million and apology from Canadian government
A former inmate of the Guantanamo prison camp, returned to Canada in 2015 and then released, will get $10 million from the Canadian government and an apology.
Omar Khadr, the son of a known al-Qaeda terrorist leader, was captured after a firefight in Afghanistan where he threw a grenade, killing a U.S. medic and wounding others. These facts are not in dispute. Khadr pleaded guilty to the charges but claimed he was a "child soldier" forced to fight by his father.
Khadr's lawyer says his client was tortured by the U.S. while he was at Guantanamo, suffering from sleep deprivation and psychological stress. The lawyer also claims that his client was not given adequate medical care.
Mr. Khadr was captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15 in 2002, following a shootout with U.S. troops where he was badly wounded – blinded by shrapnel in one eye and with fist-sized exit wounds in his shoulder and chest.
He was accused of throwing a grenade that killed U.S. army medic Christopher Speer in the firefight and was sent to the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.
Mr. Khadr, now 30, spent more than 10 years in U.S. and Canadian custody, much of that time in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. Once the youngest detainee in Guantanamo, he was transferred to Canada in 2012 after accepting a plea deal.
Mr. Edney has said his client was treated abysmally even though he was a child soldier and his body shattered from wounds. U.S. interrogators subjected him to sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.
Mr. Edney said Mr. Khadr was coerced into fighting by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr – a top al-Qaeda operative until he was killed in a gunfight with Pakistani troops in 2003.
In March, Mr. Khadr underwent a 19-hour operation in an Edmonton hospital to repair his shoulder, which was severely damaged during the firefight with U.S soldiers.
"Nobody advocated for his health whatsoever. Even when he came back to Canada, I raised all those issues with the Correctional Services and of course [former prime minister Stephen] Harper was not interested in hearing anything like that," Mr. Edney said in an interview last March.
Mr. Khadr was freed on bail in May, 2015, and released under the supervision of Mr. Edney.
He said he would "prove to [Canadians] that I'm a good person."
From the battlefield to the hospital at Guantanamo, the U.S. military saved this young man's life. The idea that "nobody advocated for his health" is beyond insult. It is an outright lie.
As for torture, sleep deprivation is defined as torture in the U.N. convention, but the idea that a 15-year-old son of a terrorist was a "child soldier" is ludicrous. The lawyers for Guantanamo inmates are notorious for lying and exaggerating about their clients' treatment. Everything he says should be checked and double-checked for accuracy.
Meanwhile, the widow of the U.S. medic murdered by Khadr as well as a wounded soldier are looking to block the $10-million payment to Khadr.
Tabitha Speer, widow of Sgt. Christopher Speer, and Layne Morris are expected to ask the Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday to honor a 2015 Utah civil court order that demanded Khadr pay them $134 million.
"They are trying to get an emergency injunction in a Canadian court to have their award in the United States enforced in Canada," The Globe and Mail is reporting an unnamed source as saying. "Their desire is to have U.S. courts enforced in Canada, which would mean that any money that goes to Mr. Khadr would go to them."
Because of the cross-border jurisdictions, it is unlikely that Khadr's victims will ever see any of the money.
Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, told the Globe and Mail that he could make no comment on the issue because "that is the arrangement with the government."
The former Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a hard line on Khadr, refusing to recognize him as a "child soldier" as much of the Canadian media now describes the man who pled guilty to murder.
Harper's successor, Conservative opposition leader Andrew Scheer, has condemned the potential pay-out to Khadr. He took to Twitter on Tuesday to say, "Canadians know this is wrong. If Omar Khadr is truly sorry for what he did, he'll give every cent to Tabitha Speer and her two children." Scheer did not respond to requests from The Daily Caller for further comment.
Rewarding a terrorist for killing Americans hardly sets a good precedent. But the liberal government wants to send a message about Guantanamo regardless of the feelings and sensibilities of a widow with two children and a blinded soldier.
Trudeau and his government should be ashamed of themselves – if they were even capable of such emotion.