Omar Khadr, a Canadian-born man who killed an American Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15 while fighting for Al Qaeda, will receive an apology and $8 million from the Canadian government.
The decision was made this week following years of political controversy in Canada over the plight of a man who had his “human rights violated” while he was detained at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison following his capture on the battlefield, according to the Canadian Supreme Court.
SOFREP has written before about the bizarre story of Khadr, who was captured by American forces following a firefight that occurred in July 2002. In that encounter, following a deadly firefight with Special Operations Forces, Khadr was the sole surviving occupant of a suspected Al Qaeda compound. He then threw a grenade at American forces, killing Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer and blinding Sergeant First Class Layne Morris.
The ruling from Canada’s Supreme Court in 2010, which likely paved the way for Khadr’s successful lawsuit against the government, ruled that because Canada was complicit in his detention at Guantanamo Bay, they bear responsibility for his treatment.
The deprivation of [Khadr’s] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” the court ruled.
“The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”
Khadr pled guilty to the charges leveled against him relating to his activities as a member of a terrorist organization, and for killing Sergeant First Class Speer. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, in addition to the time already spent confined. After he was sent back to Canada in 2012 to finish the remainder of his sentence, he was released in 2015 following an appeal that his guilty confession was made under duress.
Afterwards, Khadr’s lawyers filed a lawsuit suing the Canadian government for $20 million, arguing that Khadr had been wrongfully imprisoned. With the 2010 ruling still standing, it’s likely Ottawa chose to settle with Khadr for $8 million rather than litigate the lawsuit.
Featured image courtesy of Jared Grove, Wikipedia
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