Injured U.S. soldier says Canada owed Khadr 'nothing'
Published Friday, July 7, 2017 8:54PM EDT
A man injured in the same firefight in which Omar Khadr is alleged to have killed an American special forces soldier says he believes Canada owes the former Guantanamo Bay inmate nothing.
Layne Morris was blinded in one eye on July 27, 2002 in Afghanistan. He said in a new interview that he doesn’t spend much time thinking about Khadr, but was upset to learn of Friday’s federal government apology to Khadr and the reported $10.5 million he was paid.
“He shouldn’t be getting a dime,” said Morris. “He should feel grateful that he’s walking the streets in the first place and ought to feel privileged to be able … to be a productive and contributing member of society.”
Morris and Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sgt. Chris Speer, who was alleged to have been killed by Khadr, filed a lawsuit to try and stop any money from reaching Khadr’s hands. Two years ago, Speer and Morris won a US-$134.1 million judgment against Khadr.
On Friday, as the apology was announced, Liberal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said that because Khadr’s “charter rights were violated … the government of Canada was required to provide a remedy."
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, meanwhile, called the settlement "disgusting” and said Khadr's return to Canada should have been remedy enough.
Morris said he doesn’t believe Khadr deserves an apology from anyone, including the U.S. government, and instead should be thanking the U.S. for saving his life.
“His family owes humanity an apology, to be very blunt,” said Morris. “Not the other way around. Canada owes this man nothing.”
Khadr claims U.S. forces captured him when he was badly wounded and lying in rubble.
Morris said he doesn’t know what kind of person Khadr is now, but he knows what kind of person he was before.
“That was a hardened and determined and disciplined terrorist,” said Morris. “That was my first impression and I’ve seen nothing to change my mind on that.”
In an interview with The Canadian Press Friday, Khadr said that he wants to continue his schooling in nursing and be a productive citizen out of the public eye.
Morris said he’s skeptical that Khadr is changing his life, because he hasn’t seen any proof.
“I’ve never heard anything that says he’s doing anything other than continuing to rely on other people’s willingness to help him out,” said Morris.
He also disputes the notion that Khadr was a child soldier, saying the meaning has been twisted.
“This is a privileged young man who has grown up around the world and speaks three or four different languages,” Morris said. “That’s not a child soldier, that’s just a bad kid.”
In a statement issued after the apology, Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney said his client “was abandoned in a hellish place called Guantanamo Bay, for 10 years, a place internationally condemned as a torture chamber.”