Canada paid $8m to ex-Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, reports say

Canada paid $8m to ex-Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, reports say

BY BBC NEWS /JOHN WERU,7TH JULY 2017-Canada has issued a C$10.5m ($8m; £6m) settlement to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr, reports say.

The federal government is said to have transferred the money this week to get ahead of a court bid to block the payout.

Canadian-born Khadr, 30, was captured in 2002 in Afghanistan at the age of 15, and spent a decade in Guantanamo.

He was convicted in 2010 by a US military commission of killing US Army Sgt Christopher Speer.

The Canadian Press wire service reported that the Liberal Trudeau government wanted to get ahead of an attempt by Speer’s widow and another US soldier wounded in the 2002 firefight to prevent Khadr from receiving any funds.

In 2015, the pair won a $134m (£103m) settlement in a Utah federal court in a lawsuit filed against Khadr.

The Globe and Mail reports their lawyer filed a court application in an Ontario Superior Court in Toronto this summer in a bid to block any possible payment to Khadr.

Khadr was the youngest prisoner ever detained at the US military prison in Cuba. He became a cause celebre for opponents of the Guantanamo Bay naval base and his case received international attention.

He was convicted of five crimes, including throwing a grenade that killed Speer in 2002.

Khadr said his confessions to US officials were made under duress.

In 2010, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that he was interrogated under “oppressive circumstances.”

Khadr was repatriated in 2012 after agreeing to a plea deal to leave Guantanamo and serve the majority of his eight-year sentence in Canada. He was released on bail in Canada in 2015.

His case has long divided public opinion in Canada.

His defenders describe him as a child soldier. Others argue he was a radicalised fighter at the time of his capture.

Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, a member of the al-Qaeda terror network. He spent his childhood in Canada and Pakistan.

Reports Khadr would be receiving compensation re-ignited the controversy.

A petition by low tax advocacy group The Canadian Taxpayers Federation collected over 50,000 signatures in two days opposing any compensation for Khadr.

Speaking to media in 2015 following his release on bail, Khadr said he would prove to Canadians that he was a “good person”.

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