I almost laughed when I read this story, except it really isn’t funny. An Algerian man is set to sue the Canadian government for the abuses he says he suffered at the hands of American security forces at Guantanamo Bay. He is now 50 years old and lives near Algiers.
He claims his current situation is really bad and he is struggling to survive since he was repatriated from Guantanamo and left almost homeless. In a draft statement of claim the man and his lawyers are saying the Canadian government was complicit in his abuse and that Canada’s security services cooperated with their U.S. counterparts even though they knew the Americans were abusing him. The man says he has been unable to find a job due to his age and the Guantanamo stigma and so he says “a settlement would be very helpful for me to get my life back together”.
Now comes the part where I almost laughed. The settlement he says would be helpful is $50 million. Yes, I don’t doubt that $50 million tax-free would be very helpful in putting a life back together. His lawyers are calling for a judicial inquiry into the extent Canada is responsible for the torture of innocent detainees in the aftermath of 9/11 and, to the Algerian’s credit, apparently he is willing to put his lawsuit on hold if there is such an inquiry. Who knows? Maybe there are unpleasant things we should be made aware of but threatening a lawsuit to get 5 times what we paid Omar Khadr sounds somewhat ludicrous.