Speaking at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally addressed his decision to “compensate” confessed killer Omar Khadr with $10.5 million and a formal apology.
Trudeau says he was merely adhering to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and following judicial advice. He suggested that the charter protects all Canadians “even when it is uncomfortable.”
“When the government violates any Canadian’s Charter rights, we all end up paying for it,” he said.
However, Trudeau did not discuss why he decided to secretly pay Khadr the money. Tabitha Speer, the widow of the U.S. Army medic who Khadr confessed to killing, and another soldier blinded in the attack, successfully sued Khadr for $134 million and numerous reports suggest the Trudeau government wanted Khadr to receive his payment before it could be diverted as damages to the pair.
Khadr was suing the Canadian government because he says he was “tortured” through sleep deprivation while a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court of Canada had agreed that Khadr was interrogated under “oppressive” circumstances but did not direct the government to “compensate” the former al-Qaida operative.
The payout has generated severe criticism from Canada’s official opposition Conservatives and has divided the usually Liberal-friendly Canadian media.
Meanwhile, Canada’s latest multi-millionaire has been speaking freely to the media about his settlement and has been featured in several hagiographic reports that highlight Khadr’s alleged mistreatment at the hands of Canadian and U.S. security.
Khadr insists he is not “profiting” from his crime and that he is “not a hardened terrorist.”
“Listen, I want to be in a place where I don’t have any more legal cases, I don’t have any prison time, I just want to be a normal person who doesn’t have to worry about going to court,” he told The Canadian Press. “Hopefully, eventually, it will come.”