Military and Police

Canadian Government Will Give $10 Million Dollars and Formally Apologize to Guantanamo Prisoner Who Killed US Soldier

“While the families of his victims wait on the court’s ruling, the only terrorist the Pentagon has ever prosecuted for the murder of an American service member is enjoying freedom in Edmonton, Canada.”

On July 27, 2002, Tabitha Speer got the notification that every military wife dreads: her husband had been seriously injured in a combat operation in Afghanistan. While the global war on terror was still in its infancy, Tabitha was no stranger to her husband being in harm’s way. SFC Christopher Speer was a member of the special operations unit commonly referred to as Delta Force by most civilians. Speer was on a reconnaissance patrol in Khost Province, Afghanistan when a firefight broke out; Tabitha’s husband had received a head wound from a hand grenade thrown by 15-year-old Canadian citizen Omar Khadr. Two weeks later, Christopher succumbed to his wounds in Germany. On August 6, 2002, the 28-year-old husband and father of two died because of the actions of a teenage jihadi.

Khadr was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for the murder of SFC Speer. Two years after the death of her husband, Tabitha filed claims against the estate of Khadr’s father, Ahmed Khadr. Ahmed was a known member and associate of various terror organizations, to include al-Qaeda; he was killed, along with a dozen members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, by Pakistani security forces along the Afghan border.

The joint lawsuit was also filed on behalf of SFC Layne Morris, a special operations soldier who was blinded on the same mission that claimed Speer’s life. On February 17, 2006 a judge ruled in their favor and awarded a combined total of $102.6 million in damages; $94 million to Speer’s widow and $8 million (all funds in Canadian dollars). As the federal government is not obliged to follow civil rulings, they have refused to release any funds from Khadr’s frozen assets.

As part of a plea deal, Omar Khadr plead guilty to Speer’s murder on October 25, 2010. Khadr also plead guilty to attempted murder, conspiracy, and two counts of providing material support for terrorism and spying. Omar Khadr even apologized to Tabitha for the pain he had caused her. On September 29, 2012, Khadr was transferred to a Canadian prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. It appeared he would be held accountable for his actions.

Fast forward to July 3 of this year, when it was revealed that the Canadian government would be formally apologizing to Khadr and paying him compensation of $10 million. Keep in mind, his victims and their families have not received any compensation from the frozen assets of his father’s estate—assets that had been utilized to finance international terrorism. However, Tabitha Speer’s attorneys had already filed a motion to have an emergency injunction block the pending settlement deal. The motion is designed to ensure that the government enforces the judgment from the wrongful death lawsuit before the government rewards Khadr for waging war with an enemy of his home nation.

While the families of his victims wait on the court’s ruling, the only terrorist the Pentagon has ever prosecuted for the murder of an American service member is enjoying freedom in Edmonton, Canada. The Trudeau administration has refused to acknowledge the deal has even occurred. Meanwhile, a widow and her children wait to see if justice will be served or if the Canadian government will reward the murder of their loved one.

Chris Erickson

Chris Erickson is an OpsLens Contributor and former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier. He spent over 10 years in the Army and performed multiple combat deployments, as well as various global training missions throughout the world. He is still active in the veteran community and currently works in the communications industry. Follow him @EricksonPrime on Twitter.

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