Government issues official apology, confirms settlement payout to Omar Khadr

Government issues official apology, confirms settlement payout to Omar Khadr

Government issues official apology, confirms settlement payout to Omar Khadr

A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who pleaded guilty to killing a USA soldier in Afghanistan has received payment of millions of pounds from Canada.

Canada on Friday formally apologized to a Canadian man held at the USA military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, for a decade and said it had reached a financial settlement with him, acknowledging officials had played a role in the abuse he suffered.

His lawyers and Canadian officials negotiated the settlement last month based on a 2010 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that Canadian officials violated Khadr's rights at Guantanamo.

"This settlement is a choice made by Justin Trudeau ... a slap in the face to the men and women in uniform who face incredible danger every day to keep us safe", Scheer said Friday afternoon, criticizing the "rushed" and "secret" nature of the settlement.

The then-15-year-old Khadr ultimately confessed to killing USA army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer during a firefight at a suspected al-Qaeda compound in 2002.

The Liberals have yet to formally confirm or explain the reasons behind this reported $10.5 million payment.

The Canadian government settlement has prompted furious debate. "Seeking money from the Canadian taxpayer is just a sign of continuing contempt for the country that Khadr has fought against", said Scheer.

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On Friday morning, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also confirmed that Khadr has received a controversial $10.5-million payout to settle a long-standing lawsuit over violations of his charter rights.

The deal with Omar Khadr marks the fifth time the Canadian government has settled with citizens who were detained overseas following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

He says the story should have ended with the conservative's repatriation of Khadr and that the Trudeau government 'went above and beyond'. Khadr's lawyer, John Phillips, provided no comment when questioned by the Globe and Mail as did Canadian justice department lawyer Barney Brucker.

As part of a plea deal in 2010, he pled guilty to charges that included murder and was eventually returned to Canada, later denying any role in killing Speer.

Supporters have argued that Khadr should have been treated as a child soldier from the start.

First of all, Khadr was underage at the time of the so-called crime, having been taken to Afghanistan by his own father. He spent his childhood in Canada and Pakistan.

He said he hoped the "talk about settlement or the apology does not cause people pain and if it does, you know, I'm really sorry for the pain".

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