Americans Seeking Enforcement of U.S. Court Ruling Against Terrorist Omar Khadr in Alberta

Americans Seeking Enforcement of U.S. Court Ruling Against Terrorist Omar Khadr in Alberta

Lawyers representing Tabitha Speer calls on the court to issue a "corresponding" judgment of the $132.1-million (U.S.) award made in June 2015.

TORONTO — Canadian lawyers acting for the widow of an American special forces soldier have filed an application in Alberta — essentially duplicating one filed earlier in Ontario — seeking enforcement of a massive U.S. damages award against former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr.

The claim calls on the Court of Queen's Bench to recognize the judgment from Utah, and to issue a "corresponding" judgment in the amount of $173.88 million — the Canadian value of the US$132.1-million American award made in June 2015.

"Given that Canada has substantially similar legislation in relation to civil actions for victims of terrorism, it is entirely consistent with the fundamental public policy of Canada to enforce the U.S. judgment," the notice states. "There are no defences to enforcement and recognition that operate in favour of the defendant in this case."

According to the notice, bringing the Alberta action in parallel with the Ontario case is proper "given the territorial limitations of the respective judgment-enforcement regimes."

Calgary-based lawyer Dan Gilborn refused to discuss the proceedings on Thursday, saying his office was not authorized to comment.

While the Alberta action was filed in early July amid word that the federal government was paying Khadr $10.5 million to settle a civil lawsuit, the lawyers acting for the Americans said they were having trouble serving notice on him.

"We have thus far been unable to locate Mr. Khadr for personal service, although we are aware that he has been residing in Edmonton, Alta., for much of the past two years," Gilborn wrote Aug. 14 in a letter to Khadr's lawyers, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

One of Khadr's Edmonton-based lawyers, Nate Whitling, said on Thursday that it would be a waste of time and money to try two identical actions at once.

"It's two duplicative actions and there's no point in proceeding with both of them," Whitling said from Edmonton.

He also said the Alberta action had been filed too late.

Both actions — the Ontario one was filed June 8 — are on behalf of relatives of U.S. special forces Sgt. Chris Speer, who was killed in Afghanistan in July 2002.

Speer had been part of a massive American assault on an Taliban compound, where Khadr, was captured badly wounded after he threw a grenade that killed Speer and left retired U.S. sergeant Layne Morris blinded in one eye during the same operation.

Khadr, 30, who recently got married, has been on bail in Edmonton for the past two years pending his appeal in the U.S. of his commission convictions. 

Since then, videos of a young Khadr making explosives have surfaced online. 

The Americans failed last month to get an injunction freezing Khadr's assets — including the $10.5-million sources said the federal government paid him — pending outcome of the Ontario enforcement action.

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