Leader defends payout to ex-detainee
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.