Convicted terrorist Omar Khadr (left), alongside victims Sgt. Layne Morris (top-right) and Tabitha Speer, widow of Sgt. First class Christopher Speer (bottom-right).
Credits: SUN NEWS NETWORK
Sgt. Layne Morris was blinded in one eye in a firefight with Omar Khadr.
OTTAWA - The American victims of convicted terrorist Omar Khadr are suing him for $44.7 million.
The suit was filed in a Utah court Wednesday, on behalf of Christopher Speer, the US Army combat medic killed by Khadr in 2002, as well as his wife and young children, and another soldier, Layne Morris, who was injured and blinded by a grenade thrown by Khadr in Afghanistan.
Morris is asking for $2.5 million. He lost sight in one eye after shrapnel from a grenade tossed by Khadr severed his optic nerve.
Laura Tanner, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said there is precedent for civil suits against terrorists.
"We sued (Omar's) father 10 years ago and were successful in getting a similar amount of money," she told QMI Agency. "This is based on the international terrorism statute, a remedy for victims of crime for behaviour conducted as a criminal terrorist."
According to documents filed with the Utah court: "Speer was placed in severe and prolonged extreme apprehension, suffered extreme fear, terror, anxiety, emotional, physical and psychological distress and trauma as a result of his injuries before his death."
A Canadian citizen, Khadr was 15 years old when he fought in Afghanistan with al-Qaida against US soldiers.
"Omar Ahmed Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, including the murder of American Army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer," Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney said in a statement. "Our Government supports the efforts of his wife Tabitha Speer and fellow soldiers to receive compensation for their horrible loss suffered at the hands of Omar Ahmed Khadr.
"We have vigorously defended against any attempt to lessen his punishment for these crimes. While Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau refused to rule out special compensation for this convicted terrorist and the NDP actively tries to force Canadian taxpayers to compensate him, we believe the victims of crime, not the perpetrators, are the ones who deserve compensation."
His now-deceased father, Ahmed Khadr, had ties to the terror group and reportedly brought two of his sons to train with operatives in and near Afghanistan.
Khadr was detained in Guantanamo Bay for a decade. In 2010, the Americans handed Khadr an eight-year sentence -- with the chance to return to Canada -- for pleading guilty to war crimes, including the murder of Speer.
After being repatriated to finish his sentence in Canada last year, Khadr was later transferred to a medium-security prison, the Bowden Institution, this past February.
Khadr has launched a lawsuit of his own, against the Canadian government, claiming $60 million. Khadr claims his charter rights were breached, that he was ill-treated by the feds as a minor, and wants money in punitive damages.
In an exclusive interview with Sun News, Morris slammed the Canadian government for "assisting" Khadr.
"Omar Khadr is being assisted by Western society and the Canadian government in particular," he said.
"We've got 30 years of the Khadr family and politicians making horrible decisions on that family and it coming back to bite all of us."
Morris believes a message has to be sent.
"Not only for Omar Khadr and those who support him but for Canadians and Americans in general," he said. "Omar Khadr is the enemy. We need to do everything we can to cut off funding to the enemy."
Included in the new court documents are elements of testimony given by Khadr about his role in Afghanistan.
"Khadr stipulated he and other operatives in his cell 'targeted US forces with the specific intent of killing Americans and as many as possible,'" the documents say. "Khadr also stipulated one purpose or goal of al-Qaida is 'to support violent attacks against property and nationals, both military and civilian, of the United States.'"