Omar Khadr receives $10.5M from Ottawa, sources say

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Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr has received his $10.5-million settlement from the federal government, sources tell CBC News.

The sources said the payment was made Wednesday night.

The Canadian Press reported late Thursday that a source familiar with the situation says the Liberal government wanted to get ahead of an attempt by two Americans to enforce a massive U.S. court award against Khadr in Canadian court.

Word of the quiet money transfer came on the eve of a hearing in which a lawyer planned to ask the Ontario Superior Court to block the payout to Khadr, who currently lives in Edmonton on bail.

Toronto lawyer David Winer is acting for the widow of a U.S. special forces soldier, Chris Speer, who Khadr is alleged to have killed after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002, and another U.S. soldier, Layne Morris, who was blinded in one eye in the battle.

Tabitha Speer and Morris won a $134-million dollar US default judgment against Khadr in a Utah court two years ago, but legal experts have said getting any money Khadr might receive in order to satisfy the Utah judgment would be extremely unlikely to succeed.

It was not immediately clear whether the hearing scheduled for Friday morning would go ahead given the payout.

‘Oppressive’ interrogation’

The government and Khadr’s lawyers negotiated the deal last month, according to The Associated Press. A government source told CBC News earlier this week that Ottawa will also apologize for his treatment.

The Toronto-born Khadr confessed to killing Speer in Afghanistan when he was 15, under interrogation that was later deemed “oppressive.”

He had been seeking $20 million in a wrongful imprisonment civil suit against Ottawa.

International attention

The Canadian was taken first to prison at the Bagram U.S. military base in Afghanistan and then to the prison at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base in Cuba and ultimately charged with war crimes by a military commission

After pleading not guilty to five war crimes charges, including murder, in 2010, he changed his plea to guilty later that year and was sentenced to eight years plus the time he had already spent in custody.

He returned to Canada two years later to serve the remainder of his sentence and was released in May 2015 pending an appeal of his war crime convictions, in which he argued that his admissions of guilt were made under duress.

Khadr spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay. His case received international attention, with some advocating that he should be treated as a child soldier, not an adult.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that Canadian intelligence officials obtained evidence from Khadr under “oppressive circumstances,” such as sleep deprivation, during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, and then shared that evidence with U.S. officials.

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Omar Khadr receives $10.5M from Ottawa, sources say

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