Trudeau argues Omar Khadr settlement was right thing to do amid backlash


The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 when he was captured by USA troops in July 2002 following a firefight at a suspected al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of Christopher Speer and the wounding of Morris, who lost an eye as a result of his injury. Before giving up, Khadr threw a hand grenade that killed Army Sgt. Ottawa reportedly paid the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner $10.5 million last week.

Trudeau said fighting a lawsuit by Omar Khadr - who was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan and sent to the U.S. military base in Cuba - would have cost the government more money in the end but acknowledged it was not a popular thing to do.

Lawyers for the widow of a USA soldier killed in Afghanistan, and another injured US soldier, were in a Toronto courtroom seeking an injunction pending the final outcome of their bid to get an Ontario court to force Mr. Khadr to hand over his settlement to them.

Khadr has not talked about the money because of confidentiality requirement invoked in a clause in the settlement with the Canadian government. Khadr has long said he was tortured during the decade he spent at Guantanamo Bay. But Trudeau said had the goverment continued to fight the case in court, it would have been a losing battle, possibly costing the government $30 million to $40 million.

"The measure of a just society is not whether we stand up for people's rights when it's easy or popular to do so, it's whether we recognize rights when it's hard, when it's unpopular", he said.

Court documents filed in a Canadian court Wednesday show Omar Khadr is fighting to have his assets remain under his control.

Let us hope Omar Khadr never gets to enjoy a dime of the $8 million the Canadian government has awarded him, or gets to send any of it to his terrorist chums in Afghanistan.

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Tabitha Speer, left, widow of U.S. Sgt. Christopher Speer, and former U.S. sergeant Layne Morris, right, won a $134 million United States judgment in a U.S. court in 2015 in their wrongful death suit against Khadr and are trying to have that decision enforced in Canada.

In 2010, the Canadian supreme court said Canada had breached Khadr's rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him in Guantanamo and sharing the results with the US. They won a $134m wrongful death judgment in 2015.

Trudeau said the lesson for future governments is that when they violate a Canadian's rights, everyone pays.

"This was the responsible path to take".

Khadr's lawyer Nate Whitling said in the court filing there is "scant evidence" Khadr would hide or spend the money.

The deal with Khadr marked the fifth time the Canadian government has settled with citizens who were detained overseas following the September 11 attacks in the US.