By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian government will apologize to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr and pay him around C$10 million ($7.7 million) to compensate him for the abuse he suffered in detention, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
A Canadian citizen, Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 at age 15 after a firefight with U.S. soldiers. He pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. army medic and became the youngest inmate held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba.
Khadr later recanted and his lawyers said he had been grossly mistreated. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Canada breached his rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him and by sharing the results with the United States.
Khadr spent a decade in Guantanamo before being returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the rest of his sentence. He was released on bail in 2015 and lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
The Canadian government and Khadr’s lawyers reached the compensation deal, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity. Canada has reached a series of expensive settlements with citizens imprisoned abroad who alleged Ottawa was complicit in their mistreatment.
Now 30, Khadr had sued Ottawa for C$20 million on grounds of violating his human rights. News of the settlement was first reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper.
Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, a senior al Qaeda member, who apprenticed the boy to a group of bomb makers who opened fire when U.S. troops went to their compound. The father was killed in a battle with Pakistani forces in 2003.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ireland for a visit, said the judicial process should be ending soon but declined further comment.
Spokespeople for Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Nor did Khadr’s lawyers. The U.S. Embassy was closed for the July 4 U.S. holiday.
“It is the right decision in light of the callous and unlawful treatment meted out to Mr. Khadr with the complicity of Canadian officials,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Denny Thomas and Howard Goller)