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

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan set to kick off

Popular event kicks off in Kelowna with a sold out launch party

Decision not to fund library turning into election issue

Unless RDOS directors step in staff cutbacks and a reduction of hours will start Feb. 1

Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden slide to fourth in two-man race

Canadians celebrate bittersweet day sliding to fourth in world cup bobsleigh

Thrift store volunteer returns Bible to Alberta church

Salmon Arm woman knew documents were meaningful and made efforts to contact parish.

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Community lends a hand after fire

Fundraiser to aid fire victim’s wife

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Penticton bookkeeper nets 90 days for $60k embezzlement

Judith Kendrick pleaded guilty to fraud late last year, and was up for sentencing Tuesday morning

Most Read