Former Gitmo Prisoner to Receive Apology, $10.5 Million Compensation Package From Canada

Omar Khadr watches as his lawyer Dennis Edney speaks to media after his bail conditions hearing in Edmonton on Friday, September 11, 2015.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Canadian government is going to apologize and give millions to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15, with Canada’s Supreme Court later ruling that officials had interrogated him under “oppressive circumstances.”

An official familiar with the deal said Tuesday that Omar Khadr will receive $10.5 million. The official was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly before the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. The government and Khadr’s lawyers negotiated the deal last month.

The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. troops following a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of an American special forces medic, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer. Khadr, who was suspected of throwing the grenade that killed Speer, was taken to Guantanamo and ultimately charged with war crimes by a military commission.

He pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges that included murder and was sentenced to eight years plus the time he had already spent in custody. He returned to Canada two years later to serve the remainder of his sentence and was released in May 2015 pending an appeal of his guilty plea, which he said was made under duress.

Omar Khadr spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay. His case received international attention after some dubbed him a child soldier.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that Canadian intelligence officials obtained evidence from Khadr under “oppressive circumstances,” such as sleep deprivation, during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, and then shared that evidence with U.S officials.

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SOURCE; Global News; The Associated Press, Rob Gillies