Loading articles...

Harper reaches out to alleged victims of Omar Khadr: report

Last Updated Jul 14, 2017 at 5:59 am EDT

Former prime minister Stephen Harper stands in the House of Commons during Question Period on Parliament Hill on June 17, 2015 in Ottawa.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Former prime minister Stephen Harper has reportedly contacted both the widow of an American soldier killed by a grenade allegedly thrown by Omar Khadr and another soldier injured in the blast to express his outrage at the government’s multi-million dollar settlement with Khadr.

The Toronto Sun reports Harper called Delta Force soldier Layne Morris – who was blinded in one eye – at his Utah home on Wednesday and apologized for the settlement in a six-minute conversation.

The Sun says it is believed Harper made a similar call to Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sgt. Chris Speer, but added that has not been confirmed.

Harper issued a statement last week condemning the settlement as “simply wrong.”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he understands why many Canadians object to the reports of the $10.5-million settlement with the former Guantanamo Bay inmate, who had sued the government for $20-million for breaching his Charter rights while he was in U.S. custody.

But Trudeau says if Ottawa had continued the legal battle, it would have cost as much as $40 million to put an end to the case.

Khadr was sent to the notorious U.S. prison after being captured during a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 years old at the time.

The former child soldier was interrogated in 2003 and 2004 by Canadian intelligence officials. Khadr says his jailers threatened him with rape and kept him in isolation, and once used him as a human mop to wipe up urine.

Khadr, now 30, pleaded guilty to five war crimes before a widely condemned military commission at Guantanamo Bay in 2010. He said he agreed to the plea so he could get out of the American prison and return to Canada. He was released on bail in 2015 pending his appeal of the war crimes conviction.

Related stories:

Toronto judge dismisses request to freeze Canadian payout to Omar Khadr

Trudeau says Khadr settlement troubles him, but it could have cost more

Khadr apology, settlement about violation of Charter rights, Trudeau says