The Canadian government has officially apologized to a convicted terrorist for the time he spent in prison at Guantanamo Bay, also paying him a reported $8 million.
Omar Khadr spent more than 10 years at the U.S.’ secretive Cuban prison after being captured in 2002 fighting with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and pleaded guilty to killing special forces medic Sgt. Christopher Speer with a grenade.
But the 30-year-old, 15 and called a “child soldier” at the time of his capture, has appealed his sentence after being sent to serve it in his native Canada.
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, 30, has received $8 million from the Canadian government.
Khadr, whose father was an Al Qaeda leader, also received a decision from the Supreme Court that he was kept under “oppressive circumstances” such as sleep deprivation and solitary confinement, leading to a $20 million suit against the Canadian government for not helping him while he was in American custody.
The government’s settlement was confidential, though officials told the Associated Press that the sum was 10.5 million Canadian dollars, or $8 million U.S.
Sgt. Christopher Speer was killed in Afghanistan in 2002.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, we wish to apologize to Mr. Khadr for any role Canadian officials may have played in relation to his ordeal abroad and any resulting harm,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.
Conservative lawmakers lambasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the decision, saying that an admitted extremist had no business being “Canada’s newest multimillionaire.”
Goodale said that the decision was not based on Khadr’s actions in Afghanistan, and was necessary because of what the Canadian government did not do after its citizen was held in Guantanamo.
A lawyer for Khadr, released from prison in 2015 on appeal, praised Trudeau for the decision Friday and called the infamous U.S. prison a “torture chamber.”
Guantanamo Bay was started by the George W. Bush administration in 2002 to hold detainees from the “War on Terror,” though few inmates were ever tried.
Ralph Goodale (r.) Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, hold a news conference regarding a $10.5 million payment to Omar Khadr on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, July 7, 2017.
It has been repeatedly condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, though Barack Obama failed in attempts to close it.
Speer’s wife Tabitha Speer and Layne Morris, a soldier who lost sight in his eye during the fight with Khadr in Afghanistan, received a more than $130 million judgement in U.S. court against the ex-detainee.
This image reviewed by the U.S. military taken on Jan.19, 2012 shows the floor shackles within the solitary recreation room in Cell Block C in the “Camp Five” detention facility of Guantanamo Bay.
Their lawyer told the Daily News earlier this week that they have filed to “domesticate” the judgement in Canada to receive any funds given to Khadr by the government.
Khadr said after his release that he apologizes to his victims and wants to continue his education so he can work in healthcare.