The Canadian government is set to offer Omar Khadr an apology and at least $10 million in compensation for the abuses he suffered during his detention by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, according to several media reports.
The details of the settlement haven’t been made public yet, but according to the Toronto Star, it’ll be between $10 million, the amount paid to Maher Arar after a judicial inquiry found his detention and torture in Syria was a direct result of intelligence provided by Canada to the United States, and $20 million, the amount sought in the civil suit brought forward by Khadr.
Khadr’s lawyers argued that Canada violated international law by failing to protect Khadr, a Canadian citizen, from his ordeal in Guantanamo. His suit further alleged a cross-border conspiracy to keep him detained.
Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. Special Forces following a shootout in Afghanistan in 2002. He was charged with “murder in violation of the laws of war,” accused of throwing a grenade that killed U.S. Army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer and injured Sgt. Layne Morris, who lost an eye.
Khadr himself was severely injured in the firefight, and blinded by shrapnel in one eye. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to the charge. Later, in media interviews, Khadr has said he doesn’t know if he threw the grenade and that he saw the plea deal as the only way of escaping the prison, where his lawyer said he was subjected to solitary confinement and sleep deprivation.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Speer’s widow and Morris have already filed an application in a Canadian court asking it to enforce a U.S. judgement in a wrongful death lawsuit that awarded Speer’s family and Morris $134 million.
“We will be proceeding with that application and trying to make sure that if he gets money, it goes to the widow of Sgt. Speer and Layne Morris for the loss of an eye,” Don Winder, lawyer for both families, told The Associated Press.
In 2010, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that the actions of Canadian intelligence officials who were involved in the U.S.’ interrogations of Khadr had violated “the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects” and they obtained evidence from him under “oppressive circumstances.”
Khadr is the only person who has been prosecuted by the U.S. for murder under the Military Commissions Act, drafted after 9/11, which made it a war crime to kill a soldier in a war zone.
Khadr was returned to Canada in 2012, after spending a decade in a detention facility in Guantanamo, and continued to be incarcerated until 2015, when he was granted bail by a Canadian court. He has since been supported by Edney and his wife, in Edmonton, where he recently moved into his own apartment. He is planning to attend school to become a nurse in the fall.