Leader de­fends pay­out to ex-de­tainee

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

TORONTO — Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau on Satur­day de­fended his gov­ern­ment’s apol­ogy and mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar pay­ment to a for­mer Guan­tanamo Bay pris­oner who pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. sol­dier in Afghanistan.

The deal with Omar Khadr’s lawyers was based on a 2010 Supreme Court of Canada rul­ing that Cana­dian of­fi­cials vi­o­lated his rights at the U.S. base in Cuba, and Trudeau said that when the gov­ern­ment vi­o­lates any­one’s con­sti­tu­tional rights it has to pay.

“The char­ter of rights and free­doms pro­tects all Cana­di­ans, ev­ery one of us, even when it is un­com­fort­able,” Trudeau told re­porters at the Group of 20 lead­ers’ sum­mit in Hamburg, Ger­many.

De­tails of the set­tle­ment are con­fi­den­tial, but an of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the deal has said it was for about $8 mil­lion. The of­fi­cial was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss it pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The Cana­dian-born Khadr was 15 when he was cap­tured by U.S. troops af­ter a fire­fight at a sus­pected al-Qaida com­pound in Afghanistan that re­sulted in the death of an Amer­i­can spe­cial forces medic, Army Sgt. 1st Class Christo­pher Speer. Khadr, who was sus­pected of throw­ing the grenade that killed Speer, was taken to Guan­tanamo and charged with war crimes by a mil­i­tary com­mis­sion.

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