Suing Al Qaeda

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, August 6, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Action in Afghanistan (search), and a wounded soldier and a widow of a man killed in action are now taking the battle to the courtroom. They're suing the estate of an Al Qaeda operative for damages. Layne Morris who was injured, and Donald Windor is his attorney. Donald, first to you, today's big question: how do you sue someone for an injury that was caused in war?

DONALD WINDOR, ATTORNEY FOR LAYNE MORRIS: Because we believe that Al Qaeda (search) are not a military force. They're terrorists, and the statute's directed to prevent terrorism. What the statute says is you can't sue if it's a declared war, if it's between nations or between military, and we don't think Al Qaeda qualifies under that definition.

GIBSON: Lane, you know, I told the story of what happened to you and the soldier that was killed in the book I wrote because this Khadr family is really quite famous in the Al Qaeda network. They're called — the old man; I believe you're suing his estate — is called "Al Kanadi," the Canadian. And this story is well-known in Canada, less known here.

Why don't you just tell us what happened? That's Ahmed Khadr, the father. Three of his sons followed him into Al Qaeda Jihad. One of them is still in Guantanamo Bay. I think that's the one that wounded you. One was released, and I think a third one was killed.

What happened to you and the soldier who was killed?

LAYNE MORRIS, INJURED BY TERRORIST'S SON: Well, basically we went to investigate a compound we'd intelligence that had us go look at it. When we showed up, there was some individuals inside, decided they didn't want to come out and talk to us, and after 45 minutes they started shooting.  And in that battle we had two Afghans killed, three or four soldiers wounded, and Chris Spear (ph) was killed.

GIBSON: He was the medic correct?

MORRIS: Took some shrapnel in the eye.

GIBSON: The one killed was the medic?

MORRIS: That's right. We had two medics. Omar killed one, and the other one saved Omar's life.

GIBSON: OK. Omar is the 15-year-old who stood up from a pile of bodies as the medic was rushing in to save the lives of these people who had been wounded and threw a grenade, correct? And then pulled out a pistol and began firing?

MORRIS: Yes. The firefight was over. Everyone, we thought, was dead. As the troops went in to clear, Omar was waiting in the rubble. He was the only one alive, and when Chris Spear (ph) got close enough, Omar threw the hand grenade at him which killed him.

GIBSON: Now, Omar Khadr is still in Guantanamo Bay, and Donald, I believe Ahmed Khadr is thought to be dead, although, he could be on the run in Afghanistan.

WINDOR: That's what we believe, that he is deceased.

GIBSON: His assets have been frozen, and that's what you are going after. But does he have any assets?

WINDOR: We don't know. We know — both governments, U.S. government and Canadian government, have frozen assets. We don't know whether it's a nickel or more. We don't have any idea.

But then this litigation is not about the money.

GIBSON: Well, no, I know, but nonetheless, if he did have money and did have money secreted, you would want to get hold of it, but if it's not about the money, by the way, what is it about?

I mean, proving Al Qaeda's killers? Don't we already know that?

WINDOR: It's about this guy to my right, Sergeant Morris, taking shrapnel, losing sight of an eye and Tabitha Spear losing her husband. And the statement that he'd like to make about why he's brought the suit. Why don't you go ahead?

GIBSON: Go ahead, Mr. Morris.

MORRIS: Well, I think we're trying to accomplish two things. Number one, is have there be some type of punitive action toward the Khadrs who seem to be able to seamlessly, enter and exit western civilized society as it suits their needs, and come back and obtain all kinds of Western medicine and reclaim their Canadian citizenship whenever it suits their needs, but still be able to go to a foreign country and fight against the United States, as well as their own government.

I fought alongside Canadian soldiers, and they were great soldiers.

GIBSON: Layne, I'm out of time, so I got to thank you. Layne Morris is a soldier who was injured.

And Layne, believe me, I know the story. The Canadian government has just been crazy with these guys. Good luck in your suit.

MORRIS: Thank you.

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