SALT LAKE CITY — A retired Utah soldier hopes his lawsuit against a convicted terrorist will keep money out of the hands of terrorist organizations.
Layne Morris filed a $44.7 million lawsuit in federal court Friday against convicted terrorist Omar Khadr.
Khadr is suing the Canadian government for $20 million, and Morris is concerned about where that money may go if Khadr wins the suit.
“These guys are known as the first family of terrorists in Canada,” Morris said of Khadr and his family.
Back in 2002, Morris said, military intelligence led his unit to a known al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan, where Khadr was inside. After troops bombed the building, Khadr was the lone survivor.
“Forty-five minutes later (Khadr) started a firefight again all by himself,” Morris said. “He threw the hand grenade that killed (special ops team member) Christopher Speer.”
After U.S. forces captured Khadr, he spent 10 years at Guantanamo. Khadr admitted to throwing the grenade that blinded Morris in his right eye and killed a medic in his unit. Khadr has claimed he was a child soldier.
“Omar Khadr is the absolute opposite of that,” Morris said. “He's just a bad guy who has made bad decisions. Fifteen-year-olds make bad decisions all the time and we prosecute them.”
Canadian-born Khadr says the Canadian government cooperated with the U.S. government instead of protecting him. So he's suing the Canadian government for $20 million.
For Morris, filing his own multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Khadr has a twofold goal: first, “to keep funds from falling into the hands of al-Qaida.” He said it's also to help grieving widow Tabitha Speer and her two children, who he says are the real victims of Khadr's crimes.
It's too soon to know how the Canadian courts will rule on Khadr's suit.
“It’s a distinct possibility that a court somewhere, or even as a government settlement, that this young man will get some kind of funding out of this,” Morris said.
Morris added that even if the Canadian courts do not award Khadr the $20 million, the situation will not be a complete victory because Khadr could be paroled in the next few years.