Court rules Omar Khadr’s confession as teen obtained under duress
A Canadian citizen who spent 10 years in the Guantanamo Bay prison will receive an apology from the federal government and a settlement of about CAN$10 million, Canadian media reported Tuesday.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that Omar Khadr, who was 15 when he killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, confessed to the crime during interrogation by Canadian intelligence officers that were conducted under “oppressive circumstances” while a prisoner at Guantanamo. Those circumstances included sleep deprivation. The Canadians inform shared the information received from Khadr with U.S. officials.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked to comment on the settlement, which has not yet been made public, during a news conference in Dublin, Ireland, where he was meeting with the Irish prime minister.
“There is a judicial process underway,” Trudeau responded. “It’s coming to its conclusion.”
Khadr pled guilty to murder in 2010 and sentenced to eight years tacked on to the 10 years he spent at Guantanamo in custody. He was deported to Canada in 2012 to serve the sentence.
He claimed in a lawsuit his guilty plea was made under duress and he was released in May 2015 pending an appeal, then freed because his confession was obtained under duress.
“Interrogation of a youth, to elicit statements about the most serious of criminal charges while detained in these conditions and without access to counsel, and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with U.S. prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects,” the court ruled.
Khadr’s lawyers argued he was pushed into war by his father, a confederate of Osama bin Laden, and sought $20 million from the Canadian government under a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit.
Khadr was accused of throwing a grenade that killed American Sgt. Christopher Speer during a firefight in 2002.
Speer’s widow and an American soldier blinded by the grenade filed a lawsuit for wrongful death and injury in an American court and were awarded a $134.2 million in 2014.
The plaintiffs conceded they have little chance of receiving the money because Khadr lives in Canada.