A former inmate at Guantanamo who was convicted in a plea deal of throwing a grenade in Afghanistan that killed a U.S. medic will be given $10 million in compensation and receive an apology from the Canadian government.
Omar Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured following a firefight with U.S. troops. He claims he was forced to fight by his father, an al-Qaeda operative. He also claims he was tortured while at Guantanamo and that Canada was complicit in his mistreatment.
The Trudeau government agrees and will announce the settlement this week.
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.”
The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada have concluded that Canada contravened its obligations under the Conventions against Torture by failing to prevent and investigate what happened to Mr. Khadr in Guantanamo Bay.
Last March, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale issued an apology and compensation package to three Muslim Canadian men – Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmatti and Muayyed Nureddin. They had been tortured and held for months in Syria and Egypt, suspected of links to terrorism.
How about Khadr issuing an apology to the family of the man he killed, Christopher Speer?
By the strict letter of the convention against torture, depriving Kahdr of sleep was a crime. Was he subjected to any other kind of torture? According to some accounts, U.S. interrogators were very mean to Kahdr, tried to scare him by threatening to send him to Egypt, and yelled at him occasionally.
As for the U.S. not treating his wounds, perhaps it would help if Mr. Khadr’s attorney released details on exactly what kind of treatment he, in fact, received while incarcerated. If his wounds were as severe as he claims, it’s amazing he survived at all without proper care. No details on the 19-hour shoulder operation have been released, but we can speculate that this length of surgical time usually means some kind of micro surgery was performed. This suggests that any life-threatening injuries Khadr sustained on the battlefield were treated adequately. Treatment to restore full mobility to the shoulder was not given. Was that the responsibility of the U.S. government to a prisoner who killed a medic?
It’s never as black and white as liberals make it out to be and the issues surrounding Guantanamo are muddied by the terrorist’s lawyers, who have been caught in lies and exaggerations. Khadr’s claim that he was “coerced” by his terrorist uncle into fighting doesn’t pass the smell test. But if the Canadian government wants to assuage its conscience by giving a convicted terrorist $10 million and grovel at his feet by saying they’re sorry they helped America, let them.