Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Khadr Deal a Bitter, but Necessary, Pill

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Khadr Deal a Bitter, but Necessary, Pill

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Khadr deal a bitter, but necessary, pill

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published July 6:

It is, for those who view Omar Khadr as nothing more or less than a terrorist killer who got caught, a very bitter pill to swallow.

It was reported this week that the federal Liberal government will offer an apology and a $10.5-million settlement to Mr. Khadr for the role Canada played in the years of incarceration, torture and abuse he endured after being wounded and captured during a firefight between U.S. troops and al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan in 2002.

Mr. Khadr, who was 15 years old at the time, was a child soldier -- a Canadian-born boy, raised by a father with radical terrorist leanings, indoctrinated in al-Qaida ideology as a youth and set loose onto the battlefield to fight against American invaders. He was badly wounded before being captured; eight years later, while incarcerated at the U.S.'s controversial military prison at Guantanamo Bay, he confessed to having thrown a hand grenade that killed U.S. special-forces medic Sgt. Christopher Speer and wounded Sgt. Layne Morris.

Mr. Khadr, who was subjected to various forms of torture and enhanced-interrogation techniques during his lengthy imprisonment, later said he wasn't sure if he threw the deadly grenade and that he signed the confession because it was his only chance of being released back to Canada.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously in 2010 that Mr. Khadr's rights were violated while he was imprisoned and that Canadian officials -- who visited him twice at Guantanamo, in 2003 and 2004, to question rather than to assist -- contributed to that violation.

None of this, of course, offers comfort to those who hold fast to the opinion that Mr. Khadr is a terrorist. To them, the very notion that he was released from jail is an affront. …

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