Widow of U.S. soldier goes after Khadr payout - Macleans.ca

Widow of U.S. soldier goes after Khadr payout

Widow of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer files to receive money Canadian government will give Omar Khadr as compensation

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

TORONTO – The lawyer for the widow of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan said Tuesday they have filed an application so that any money paid by the Canadian government to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner convicted of killing him will go toward the widow and another U.S. soldier injured.

Lawyer Don Winder made the comments as a decision by the Canadian government to apologize and give millions of dollars to Omar Khadr came under mounting criticism.

An official familiar with the deal said Tuesday that Khadr will receive 10.5 million Canadian dollars (US$8 million). The official was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly before the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. The government and Khadr’s lawyers negotiated the deal last month.

MORE: Canada to offer apology, millions in compensation to Omar Khadr

The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. troops following a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of an American special forces medic, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer and injury of Sgt. Layne Morris, who lost an eye. Khadr, who was suspected of throwing the grenade that killed Speer, was taken to Guantanamo and ultimately charged with war crimes by a military commission.

He pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges that included murder and was sentenced to eight years plus the time he had already spent in custody. He returned to Canada two years later to serve the remainder of his sentence and was released in May 2015 pending an appeal of his guilty plea, which he said was made under duress.

The widow of Speer and Morris filed a wrongful death and injury lawsuit against Khadr in 2014 fearing Khadr might get his hands on money from his $20 million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit. A U.S. judge granted $134.2 million in damages in 2015.

Winder, a Salt Lake City-based attorney for Speer and Morris, said they filed an application a few weeks ago in Canada to domestic that judgement in Canada. It has yet to be heard.

“We will be proceeding with that application and trying to make sure that if he gets money it goes to the widow of Sgt. Speer and Layne Morris for the loss of an eye,” Winder told The Associated Press.

Winder said they thought it was likely there might be some payment “for his wrongful interment in Guantanamo.”

Khadr’s lawyers filed a $20 million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against the Canadian government, arguing the government violated international law by not protecting its own citizen and conspired with the U.S. in its abuse of Khadr. Khadr spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay. His case received international attention after some dubbed him a child soldier.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that Canadian intelligence officials obtained evidence from Khadr under “oppressive circumstances,” such as sleep deprivation, during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, and then shared that evidence with U.S officials.

Khadr was the youngest and last Western detainee held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The news of the government giving millions to someone who pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. soldier has not gone over well among conservatives in Canada.

“Odious. Confessed terrorist who assembled & planted the same kind of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that killed 97 Canadians to be given $10-million,” former Conservative Minister Jason Kenney tweeted said. Kenney added that Khadr should be in prison paying of his crimes, not profiting from them as the expenses of Canadian taxpayers.

Conservative party Parliament member Tony Clement urged Khadr to give any settlement money to the widow and children of the American soldier he was accused of killing in Afghanistan. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation started an online petition aimed at Trudeau, deploring the deal.

But Former Liberal leader Bob Rae tweeted that compensation was “long overdue.”

OPINION: Omar Khadr remains a prisoner of partisan politics

Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to confirm the apology and money when asked about in Ireland on Tuesday but didn’t deny it. “There is a judicial process underway that has been underway for a number of years now and we are anticipating, like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion,” Trudeau said.

Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Canada’s public safety minister, also confirmed there is an ongoing court process in the case.

“Settlement processes are always strictly confidential by nature. Accordingly, the Government is not in a position to provide any comment one way or another,” Bardsley said in an email.

Khadr’s lawyers have long said he was pushed into war by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, whose family stayed with Osama bin Laden briefly when Omar Khadr was a boy. Khadr’s Egyptian-born father was killed in 2003 when a Pakistani military helicopter shelled the house where he was staying with senior al-Qaida operatives.

After his 2015 release from prison in Alberta, Omar Khadr apologized to the families of the victims. He said he rejects violent jihad and wants a fresh start to finish his education and work in health care. He currently resides in an apartment in Edmonton, Alberta.


Widow of U.S. soldier goes after Khadr payout

  1. Oh of course she does…..but Khadr is back in Canada now.

  2. I hope she gets every cent. In fact, we should save the taxpayers the expense and just pay the money to the Speers family on Omar’s behalf.

  3. As I said in a previous article re this:
    The US federal government will likely put pressure on Canada to hand over that money directly to Speer’s widow. Donald Trump will likely tweet menacingly about it. The interesting part will be how Trudeau reacts.

  4. Crucify the convicted terrorist/and make sure that he or any of his family get nothing.

  5. Well guys, that’s why people don’t like Cons…..you’re a jealous vindictive bunch, and you put that trait on display all the time on here.

    • Emily-an astounding generalization-there are about the same number of Canadians who like the Cons as there are Canadian snow flakes who like the Liberals.
      That said, it is not contested at all that Khadr killed this woman’s husband. He should graciously give her every penny to demonstrate his remorse.

      • LOL yeah that would be why Libs have a majority eh?

        And yes,the whole thing is contested.

  6. Kadhr is now able to live in freedom in Canada, and he also has the opportunity to renounce his former (?) ideology and express remorse for his actions, things he has yet to do. Every single cent should go to Tabitha Speer and to Layne Morris.

    • Rubbish

  7. How much has this woman received in compensation from the American government for either the loss of her husband or to support his two children?
    She’s claiming that the legal “battle” to get the judgement in an uncontested case in Utah cost her $900,000 in legal costs which she thinks Omar Khadr should pay. I’d like to see the breakdown of that legal bill. How much legal work is involved in bringing forward an uncontested action?
    She and Layne Morris have also sued the estate of Khadr’s father.
    While people talk of Speer being a medic, which is usually taken to mean he would be unarmed, he was armed at the time but was not wearing a helmet. He died of a head wound that might not have been as severe had he had his helmet on. Has she sued whoever told him not to wear protective gear?

    • Her lawyer is probably under a contingent fee basis, as is so many in the US. His slice of the pie is therefore $900,000. That’s why it sounds really high. They weren’t charges for service, such as a fee per hour.

  8. I hope she gets every penny and then some. This is disgusting that we would give a convicted terrorist and a traitor any money.

  9. He is a convicted terrorist guilty by his own admission. He should still be in prison.

    • Everyone but you knows it was a plea bargain.

      This isn’t even an issue……it was a battlefield in a war zone. End of story.

      • You are right. Please educate me as to why was the plea bargain and how it can result in a $10 reward for murdering a soldier in the field of battle. I think he was lucky to come out alive. Now some winless bureaucrats are giving him a walk of money. STUPID!

        • No one can educate you-but you.

          Meanwhile, Khadr just cashed his cheque.

  10. At 15, Khadr was technically a child soldier and he was forced the war by his father. Not sure I agree with a $10million settlement, but the US murder conviction is not justified.

  11. What unbiased court would rule any soldier’s life worth $174 million? His life was already insured for more than a million in a field of work that isn’t statistically much more dangerous (on the job deaths) than carpentry or schoolteaching. Had he ‘accidentally’ killed someone other than Khadr his country might have paid out a of a maximum of $5000. Two hundred and thirty dead Iranian passengers on an airliner mistakenly downed as a ‘threatening aircraft’ got to split $20 million US after costs. The Lokerbie victims shared $90 million paid by Libya. Khadr is being offered a settlement of slightly over $8 million US to drop a lawsuit against a government that was largely ignored his plight for much of 15 years imprisonment, was proactive in depriving him of his rights and punishing him by carrying out the sentence given to him by a quasi-judicial military tribunal.

    Although her did not dispute the charges read into the record at his plea deal hearing – there was never any testimony entered from Speer’s comrades that any of them saw who threw the grenade that killed him and injured the other. From the physical condition of Khadr when he was discovered in a hole in the floor, whe wasn’t throwing much at all let alone grenades. he’s fortunate he’s alive, he’s fortunate they released him, he’s fortunate to be back in Canada, he’s fortunate that a new government is willing to take the blame for the previous one. He needs only to be fortunate enough to have a Canadian court deny the application for another American penalty.

    He should be able to make his ‘legal team’ whole for the costs of their many years labour to set him free.

    • Good news – the settlement has been paid to him and is safely out of the grasp of the Americans including Mrs Speers.

  12. to late the liberals paid it when they heard the family wanted it know you know ho the liberals support and its not true Canadians

  13. – A child soldier is defined as younger than 15yo & a member of a recognized military. Omar was 15yo (almost 16yo) at the time & not a member of a recognized military.
    -Regardless, in Canada under Common Law, young offenders can be & sometimes are tried as adults when the situation is deemed serious, as in a murder charge.
    -He was effectively an “independent combatant” acting as a terrorist & not covered by the Geneva Convention, therefore not afforded it’s protections. He & his terrorist comrades had no status on the “battlefield” as they were not part of any “army”. Essentially, they were acting as criminal “thugs”.
    -The best evidence available, provided to military court, said that he killed unarmed Sgt. Speers, a medic, & wounded another US soldier, costing him the sight in one eye.
    -Because he was not with a recognized military, i.e. he was not a soldier, he is simply seen as a “criminal murderer”.
    -Sgt. Speers US medic colleagues saved Omar’s life after the fire fight. He then rec’d. the best of care at US military hospital.
    -If his detainment in Cuba infringed on his “rights”, that had nothing to do with Canada.
    -If Canadian officials somehow violated his “Charter Rights” in questioning him while in Cuba, how is this worth 10.5 million? Perhaps 10.5 thousand.
    -For some perspective, a CDN soldier’s family receives about 350 thousand if he/she is killed in action.
    -Omar built IEDs that possibly killed or maimed CDN soldiers.
    -Omar is pictured displaying the severed trophy hands of coalition soldiers.
    -Why are charges of being a traitor to Canada not being explored? Does the “Charter” cover convicted terrorists & murderers who may be traitors as well?
    -Why did the CDN government hasten the pay out to attempt to “cut out” the killed & injured soldiers legal claims?
    -The pay out will still likely be accessible as it was “fraudulently” moved into a trust, or other, to protect it from a pending legal action.
    -Given the 10.5 million award Omar rec’d., the honourable thing would be for him to: 1. Give it back to the CDN government to help care for wounded CDN military personnel & repay CDN taxpayers for Canada’s support of him. 2. Give it to the US families seeking compensation. Or, 3. Repay the US military for saving his life.