Skip to main content

Omar Khadr listens to a question during a news conference after being released on bail in Edmonton, Alberta, May 7, 2015. Khadr, a Canadian, was once the youngest prisoner held on terror charges at Guantanamo Bay.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS

A retired American soldier has criticized a Canadian judge's decision to allow the release a former Guantanamo Bay inmate on bail, saying he's a dangerous terrorist who poses a threat to the West's safety.

Toronto-born Omar Khadr was convicted of war crimes, including throwing a grenade when he was 15 years old that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer in Afghanistan during a 2002 firefight.

Layne Morris, a former 19th Special Forces soldier from Utah who was wounded and lost sight in one eye in the skirmish, said Khadr's release Thursday was a cause for concern.

Story continues below advertisement

"This is a man who has demonstrated a willingness and a capability to do great harm to Canadian society and Western interests in general," he told the Deseret News newspaper in Salt Lake City.

Last year, Morris and Speer's widow filed a $44.7 million wrongful death and injury lawsuit against Khadr in U.S. District Court in Utah.

"Morris gave sworn evidence that he witnessed Omar Khadr in the compound," Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney, told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Later, when being interviewed by Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star he acknowledged he had not seen Omar Khadr at the compound and his information came from others. So, at best he is unreliable. His comments are overblown, dramatic and do not reflect the facts."

Khadr, son of an alleged senior al-Qaeda financier, said he categorically rejects violent jihad and wants a fresh start. He plans to finish his education and work in health care.

"I'm sorry for the pain I've caused for the families of the victims," he told reporters after his release on bail. "There's nothing I can do about the past but I can do something about the future."

Khadr spent 10 years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since 2012, he had been held in Canada, serving out an eight-year sentence handed down by a U.S. military commission in 2010. He was once the youngest detainee at Guantanamo, arriving there at age 15. He is now 28.

Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby rejected the Canadian government's emergency request to stop Khadr's release while he appeals his U.S. war crimes conviction. A lower court judge granted him bail last month.

Story continues below advertisement

The U.S. State Department supports the Canadian government's decision to appeal the bail decision.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies