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HAT Forum - Omar Khadr - The Controversial Settlement

  • The 519 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)

Proposer - Tanya Long

Omar Khadr (born September 19, 1986) is a Canadian citizen who was detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay from the age of 16 for 10 years.

On July 27, 2002, at age 15, Khadr was severely wounded in a firefight between U.S. soldiers and Taliban fighters, during which Khadr is alleged to have thrown a grenade that killed American medic Sgt. Christopher Speer. During his detention in Guantanamo, Khadr was interrogated by Canadian as well as US intelligence officers.

Khadr pleaded guilty to murder and several war crimes in October 2010 at a hearing by a United States military commission. He accepted an eight-year sentence with the possibility of a transfer to Canada after at least one year to serve the remainder of the sentence. The Supreme Court of Canada found that the Canadian government's interrogation of Khadr at Guantanamo Bay "offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects."

On September 29, 2012, Khadr was repatriated to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canadian custody. In 2013, Khadr filed a C$20 million civil suit against the government of Canada for conspiring with the U.S. in abusing his rights. In July 2017, as part of a settlement agreement, the Canadian government apologized to Khadr and agreed to pay C$10.5 million in compensation.

  • Andrew Scheer, federal Conservative leader, called the settlement “disgusting.” Is it?
  • What are the reasons that the settlement is justified?
  • What are the reasons against?
  • Is it the fact of a settlement or its size that is so controversial?
  • Should some of the money go to Sgt. Speer’s widow? Why? Why not?
  • What if Khadr is innocent? GoogleSandy Garossino, National Observer, What if Khadr isn’t Guilty?
  • Should Canada have charged Khadr with treason at the beginning?
  • A friend commented, “This makes us look like patsies, a laughingstock, to our enemies.” Do you agree?