VIDEO: Word of Omar Khadr’s $10.5-million deal sparks fury

$10.5-million settlement with former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, sources say

Word that the federal government has agreed to pay former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr more than $10 million and apologize to him to settle a long-running lawsuit sparked a furious and at times virulent reaction on Tuesday among those who see him as a terrorist killer and those who believe he deserves compensation.

The settlement, confirmed by sources familiar with the deal, exposed the deep chasm that has divided Canadians over Khadr almost since 2002 when he was dragged horrifically wounded as a 15-year-old from the battlefield in Afghanistan.

“When a Canadian soldier is injured in battle, the government provides a disability award up to a maximum of $360,000,” Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said in a tweet. “Despite this, the current government is willing to provide $10 million to a convicted terrorist.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation started an online petition aimed at Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in Ireland, deploring the deal one source said was signed last week.

“This is offensive to many Canadians,” the petition states. “Canadians should not be forced to pay millions of dollars to a killer.”

Social media exploded with denunciation of the agreement, which sources said would see the government pay Khadr $10.5 million – part of which would go to his lawyers – and the justice and public safety ministers formally apologize to him.

Posters used words such as “disgraceful,” some called for the Canadian citizen to be kicked out of the country, while others argued the money should go to the family of Chris Speer, the U.S. special forces soldier Khadr is alleged to have killed in 2002.

“Most Canadians’ thoughts would be with Christopher Speer’s widow and family, who are reliving their terrible ordeal once again because of the actions of the Canadian government this time,” said Tony Clement, another Conservative MP.

The Toronto-born Khadr, 30, pleaded guilty to five war crimes before a much maligned military commission in 2010. He has claimed, with some evidence, his American captors tortured him.

Khadr’s $20-million lawsuit – initially launched in 2004 – alleges the federal government breached his rights by, among other things, colluding with the Americans in his mistreatment.

Those who see him as a terribly abused “child soldier” called the apparent settlement long overdue.

“For 15 years, Omar Khadr’s case has been a stark reminder of the many ways that an overreaching and unchecked approach to national security readily runs roughshod over universally protected human rights,” Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty in Canada, said in a statement. “In Afghanistan, at Guantanamo Bay and in Canadian prisons, Omar Khadr’s rights were consistently violated and ignored.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Listen to your gut’ urges injured skier

Mike Shaw was told he’d never walk again after an accident four years ago, but he defied the odds

Nasty note on windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Remembering road crash victims in Kelowna

World Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims takes place Sunday in Kelowna

Small grass fire sparks in West Kelowna

Fire crews quickly douse blaze in ditch on Friday afternoon

Constructive meeting held with Carr’s Landing Community and Recreation Association

Lake Country - Residents met with the city yesterday to discuss the area by Gable Beach Road North

Flag person struck by car

RCMP investigating incident involving female traffic control person and senior driver

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Guns and drugs seized in Kamloops RCMP blitz

Kamloops Mounties and the gang unit seize drugs and make arrests in two-day blitz

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Interior Health expands meningococcal precautions in South Okanagan

Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls included in the expanded precautionary immunization measure

Homeless count returns amid Penticton’s housing crisis

Volunteers are hitting the streets this week to find solid data on Penticton’s homeless population

Missing woman smart, courageous, lovable

Mother says Caitlin Potts trying to overcome foster care experience

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Most Read