A convicted extremist is set to receive roughly $8 million from the Canadian government, as well as a formal apology for his time in Guantanamo Bay, according to reports.
Omar Khadr, who admitted to killing an American medic while fighting in Afghanistan in 2002, spent 10 years at the secretive U.S. prison, based in Cuba.
The fighter, captured at a suspected Al Qaeda compound and said to have thrown the grenade that killed Sgt. Christopher Speer, pleaded guilty to a military tribunal in 2010, was sent back to Canada in 2012 to serve the rest of his sentence.
He was released in May 2015 as he appeals his conviction, saying that he was coerced into making his plea.
Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the country’s intelligence officers got evidence from Khadr, 15 when he was captured, under “oppressive circumstances” such as sleep deprivation and solitary confinement at Guantanamo.
The prison, started by the George W. Bush administration to hold “enemy combatants,” has long been condemned by human rights organizations, though the Obama administration’s efforts to close it failed and President Trump has suggested sending more detainees there.
Khadr, 30, sued the government for $20 million, saying it failed to protect him as a Canadian citizen and passed information on to Americans.
But the idea of giving millions of dollars to a convicted killer, first reported by The Globe and Mail, has rankled the country.
Omar Khadr, held at Guantanamo Bay for ten years, smiles after being released from Canadian prison in 2015.
“Meet Canada’s newest multi-millionaire – Omar Khadr,” read a release from the opposition Conservative party.
“Yes, that Omar Khadr – the admitted Al-Qaida terrorist who murdered US Army medic Christopher Speer with a grenade,” the party said, adding that the Liberal party wants to “reward” him with taxpayer dollars.
“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,” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal party, was in Ireland Tuesday and did not respond directly to questions about the reported payment and apology.
“There is a judicial process underway that has been underway for a number of years now and we are anticipating, like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion,” he said.
Trudeau also said Tuesday that Canada has a chance to take more of a lead globally as populist waves have the U.S. and U.K. “turning inwards.”
Speer’s widow Tabitha Speer and Layne Morris, a retired soldier who lost an eye fighting Khadr, who had previously filed suit against him in U.S. federal court.
A Navy guard patrols Camp Delta’s detainee recreation yard during the early morning at Guantanamo Bay naval base in 2010.
The court said that Morris, Speer and Speer’s children are owed more than $134 million from the fighter, though it is unclear if any money Khadr receives would ever find its way back to the U.S.
Speer and Morris’s lawyer Don Winard told the Daily News Tuesday that an application to “domesticate” the American judgement in Canada had been filed in Ottawa about three weeks ago.
“We anticipate a fight but I think we have the better legal position” he said, refusing to comment on the merits of the reported Canadian settlement.
Khadr, who some have called a “child solider,” apologized to his victims after leaving prison and said he wants to get an education to work in health.
His lawyers have said that he was made to fight by his father Ahmed Said Khadr, a top Al Qaeda figure and native Egyptian killed in Pakistan in 2003.
With News Wire Services.