back to top

Canada Will Reportedly Apologize to Omar Khadr For His Mistreatment At Guantanamo Bay

Khadr was captured at 15 and spent a decade at Guantanamo Bay.

Posted on

Omar Khadr, one of the youngest people to have been detained at Guantanamo Bay, will reportedly get an official apology from the Canadian government and $10 million in compensation over his mistreatment.


According to the Globe and Mail, the apology to Khadr is expected later this week.

The government confirmed to BuzzFeed Canada that "there is an on-going court process on this case" but declined to provide further details.

"Settlement processes are always strictly confidential by nature," Scott Bardsley, press secretary for Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, said in an email. "Accordingly, the Government is not in a position to provide any comment one way or another."

Toronto-born Khadr was detained by the US military after he was captured in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002. That fight left Khadr badly injured, and killed US Army medic Christopher Speer.

/ The Canadian Press

Khadr was accused of throwing a grenade that killed Speer, for which he later pleaded guilty. Although he was only 15 at the time of the firefight — and therefore considered a child soldier under international law — the Canadian was detained and later convicted on war crimes charges at Guantanamo Bay under the widely discredited military tribunal system.

Canadian intelligence officers took part in Khadr's interrogations while he was being subjected to sleep deprivation and other forms of abuse, without access to legal representation. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada wrote in a unanimous ruling that "Canada actively participated in a process contrary to its international human rights obligations," and that such conduct "offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects."

Khadr spent 10 years at Guantanamo Bay before being transferred to Canada for an additional three years behind bars. He was released on bail in 2015, at age 28.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to comment on Khadr's case when asked by reporters on his trip to Ireland.


Trudeau only said a "judicial process" was coming to a close and did not offer further remarks.

The Free Omar Khadr Now campaign, which has worked closely with both Khadr and his lawyer Dennis Edney, welcomed news of the official apology and compensation.

"Please join us in extending our deepest respect to Omar for the dignity and strength he has maintained throughout the years of this horrendous ordeal!" the campaign said in a blog post.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.