Canadian government offers Guantánamo Bay detainee apology and multi-million dollar compensation package 

A Toronto-born man who was held at Guantánamo Bay after admitting killing a US soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15 is to receive an apology and a reported $10.5 million (£6.3 million) compensation from the Canadian government.

Agreement has been reached between the government in Ottowa and lawyers acting on behalf of Omar Khadr seven years after the country’s supreme court ruled the participation of Canadian officials in his Guantánamo interrogation “offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”

The settlement brings to an end a legal battle which began in 2004 when Mr Khadr’s lawyers, Dennis Edney and John Phillips, accused Canada of failing to protect one of its own citizens and conspiring with the US.

Mr Khadr was only 15 when he was captured by US forces following fighting at an al-Qaeda compound during which an American soldier, Sgt Christopher Speer, was killed in July 2002.

Despite thousands of US soldiers having died in Afghanistan, Mr Khadr was the only captive to be charged with murder under the Military Commissions Act, which was passed after the September 11 attacks on the US. 

Until then killing a soldier in a war zone was not regarded as a criminal offence.

Mr Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 under a deal with allowed him to return to Canada to complete his sentence. But his case, as a boy soldier, became an international cause célèbre.

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His lawyers argued that he had been co-opted into fighting for al-Qaeda by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, who was friendly with Osama Bin Laden.

Mr Khadr was released in May 2015, having appealed against a conviction based on a confession which, he said, was made under duress. In an interview that year he told the Toronto Star that he did not know whether the grenade he threw was responsible for Sgt Speer’s death.

In the same year a court in Utah ruled that Mr Khadr should pay Sgt Speer’s widow and Layne Morris, a soldier wounded in the firefight, $134.2 million (£103.83 million) in damages.

Khadr, 30, has apologised to the families. Now living in Edmonton, Canada he is planning to train as a nurse.

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