The Country Paying Omar Khadr $10 Million in Compensation Is Not the One That Tortured Him
Last weekend, the government of Canada did something its U.S. counterpart never has. As part of a legal settlement, Canada agreed to pay $10 million in damages to a former Guantánamo detainee and U.S. torture victim.
Seven years after the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s rights had been violated by his own government because of his detention and alleged torture in U.S. custody, former Guantánamo detainee Omar Khadr settled a lawsuit with the government for an apology and millions of dollars.
“Canada should be commended for taking this step,” said Laura Pitter, senior national security counsel for Human Rights Watch. “Unfortunately, the U.S. government, most responsible for Khadr’s mistreatment, has failed to fulfill its obligation to provide compensation and redress, not just in Khadr’s case but in the case of scores of other men wrongfully detained and tortured in U.S. custody.”
In 2015, after spending a decade in Guantánamo and three years in a maximum security prison in Ontario, the Canadian government released 28-year-old Khadr on bail. Khadr was only 15 in 2002 when he was captured and accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier during a firefight at a suspected Al Qaeda compound.
He became the youngest prisoner ever held at Guantánamo Bay. Instead of treating Khadr like a child soldier and demanding his rehabilitation, the Canadian government sent intelligence agents to interrogate him. According court affidavits, Khadr told visiting Canadian officials that he had confessed under torture. He claims to have shown them his injuries, but the officials refused to help.
The details of Khadr’s decadelong legal battle are complicated, but the result is simple: Khadr, now 30 and released on bail, settled a lawsuit against the government for $10 million and an apology.
To read the rest of the story, click here.