OTTAWA — The man accused of kidnapping Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout told an RCMP undercover officer that he wanted to write a book on Somalia’s history with his former hostage.
The undercover officer, who cannot be named by court order, testified Monday in a pretrial motion in the case of Ali Omar Ader.
Ader knew the man as A.K., and believed him to be a well-connected businessman, and a friend of the Lindhout family.
A.K. told court that Ader wanted to write a history of his troubled country entitled, “A Slow Genocide.” Ader, the officer said, went on to suggest that the three of them — Ader, Lindhout and A. K. — could collaborate.
Ader, a Somali national, is charged with kidnapping under the extraterritorial provisions of the Criminal Code.
Although he’s to face trial in October, lawyers are now arguing over what material from the seven-year RCMP investigation can be admitted into evidence.
The RCMP officer told court Monday that the undercover operation began after Ader tried to contact the Lindhout family in January 2010, three months after she had been released.
In their first conversation, A.K. said Ader revealed that he held letters written by Lindhout while in captivity, and that he wanted to sell them back for $15,000 (U.S). Later in the conversation, Ader volunteered that he also wanted to write a history of Somalia.
“Ultimately,” the RCMP officer testified, “we thought this might be a good ploy, a good scenario to use to keep Ader on the phone and collect evidence, and might be something we could use to build our relationship with Ader and see where it took us.”
The relationship between the undercover officer and Ader developed over years and included copious emails, texts and calls.
The book became the focus of their conversations, A.K. testified, and Ader dropped his demand to be paid for Lindhout’s letters: He eventually sent electronic copies of them as an act of goodwill.
A.K. convinced Ader he had publishing contacts, and the Somali began sending draft manuscripts of his book.
In June 2013, the two met face-to-face on the island of Mauritius in order to sign a contract to have A.K. represent Ader in future book negotiations.
The RCMP arranged for Ader’s travel, and paid for his plane ticket, hotel and expenses.
In Mauritius, A.K. testified, Ader told him he had been an Islamic politician — he called himself one of the “original jihadists” — and had twice been the target of assassination attempts because he had refused to join the hardline jihadist group, Al-Shabbab.
A.K. told Ader his book held the potential to generate up to $1 million if it was marketed as a textbook and sold to college and university students. Their proposed contract also included a disclosure clause to protect A.K. from negative publicity connected to the project.
A.K. told court the clause was inserted as a means to generate discussion of Ader’s role in the Lindhout kidnapping.
Ader, he said, told him that he first became involved in the Lindhout kidnapping in a humanitarian role to help secure her release, but later became the group’s principal negotiator because his English was relatively good.
A.K. said Ader told him he was paid only $10,000 from the $600,000 ransom that was collected for Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan.
Ader would later be lured to Ottawa to sign a book contract, and arrested.
Source: The Ottawa Citizen