A man involved in the kidnapping of a journalist in Somalia nine years ago, who was lured to Canada by cops with the promise of a fake book deal, has been found guilty of hostage taking.
The court rejected 40-year-old Ali Omer Ader’s testimony that he was an unwilling participant in the kidnapping of Canadian freelance reporter Amanda Lindhout, who was tortured, beaten, and raped during her 15 months in captivity.
The judge found Ader’s defence, that he himself was kidnapped at gunpoint and coerced into acting as a translator, “completely unbelievable,” the CBC reported, quoting Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith’s ruling which was released on Wednesday.
The conviction comes after a 5-year investigation in which an undercover RCMP officer posed as a literary agent to build a relationship with Ader, who was hoping to publish a book about the history of Somalia.
Over years of correspondence, including emails, recorded phone calls, and a meeting in Mauritius, Ader confessed to his role — as a negotiator who received $10,000 from the ransom paid to the kidnappers by Lindhout’s family.
In 2015, Ader was flown to Canada under the guise of meeting with a “publisher” who was interested in the book — also an undercover cop.
In compliance with a clause in the fake publishing agreement he signed, which required him to divulge anything that could potentially damage the book’s publicity or the publishing company’s reputation, Ader confessed to being voluntarily involved and to the receiving money from the payout. The entire meeting was captured on video.
In court, however, he claimed he was lying to impress the publisher. His entire defence was dismissed by the Crown as flagrant lies. He admitted under cross-examination that he wasn’t much of a prisoner during the kidnapping since he was allowed to come and go as he pleased and bring his family to live with him.
In his ruling, Smith pointed out that Ader never mentioned any threats against him or his family in his correspondence with the undercover officer known as AK.
“If he had assisted the hostage-takers due to threats, this would have reduced his culpability for the hostage-taking and assisted him in obtaining the book contract,” Smith said.
“It does not make sense to lie about his involvement to make his conduct appear worse to the publisher and the public who he hoped would buy his book.”