A Utah soldier injured in a firefight in Afghanistan plans to take his fight against terrorism to a new front the courtroom.
Sgt. 1st Class Layne Morris is expected to file a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court against the estate of Ahmed Said Khadr, an accused senior al-Qaida leader and father of the teenage boy who allegedly caused Morris' injuries and the death of his fellow soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer.
Speer, of North Carolina, was injured during the July 27, 2002, attack and died less than two weeks later. Morris, a member of the Utah National Guard's 19th Special Forces, was blinded in his right eye by grenade fragments.
Both men's injuries are alleged to have been caused by Khadr's then-15-year-old son, Omar Khadr, according to an advance copy of the lawsuit obtained by the Deseret Morning News.
The suit seeks some $30 million from Khadr's estate for claims of personal injury, wrongful death and negligence, as well as punitive damages.
In a Thursday interview with KSL-TV, Morris said the lawsuit is not driven by anger or hatred but rather a duty to his country.
"I hope it sends a message to terrorists everywhere that we're not just after you militarily, there's financial and legal means to make life tough for them," Morris said. "As a nation we still have a job to do. This is one task that I seem to be in a position to do, and I don't think I ought to back down from that."
Ahmed Said Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was born in Egypt, was killed in an October 2003 gunbattle with Pakistani police. According to a March documentary by Canada's CBC News, Khadr had long been named as a top al-Qaida financier and was previously arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of financing a fatal bombing of the Egyptian Embassy there.
"Khadr knowingly provided material support and resources in the form of money and services, as well as his flesh and blood . . . to al Qaeda," the lawsuit states. "Khadr had a duty as a parent to exercise reasonable care to control his minor child."
Omar Khadr was captured during the attack and is reportedly in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to CBC News, he, too, lost sight in one eye from injuries sustained in the firefight.
According to Reuters news service, the CBC documentary quotes members of the Khadr family describing their interactions with Osama bin Laden, who attended the 1999 wedding of Khadr's daughter. The family reportedly lived in bid Laden's Jalalabad, Afghanistan, compound for several years, leaving shortly before the United States attacked Afghanistan in 2001.Reuters reported that Abdurahman Khadr is quoted as saying he resisted his father's urgings to become a suicide bomber but added, "I admit it that we are an al-Qaida family. We had connections to al-Qaida."
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