TOM SPEARS, OTTAWA CITIZEN
Friday, June 12, 2015
Amanda Lindhout & Police mugshot of Ali Omar Ader
A Somali man has been arrested in Ottawa and charged with the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout in Somalia.
The RCMP announced the arrest of Ali Omar Ader Friday morning. Assistant commissioner James Malizia describes him as “one of the main negotiators” for the Islamist group that seized Lindhout and Australian colleague Nigel Brennan in August of 2008.
He came to Canada a few days ago — the Mounties won’t say how or why — and was arrested Thursday.
Ader made a very brief appearance by video from the courthouse cellblock about 10:30 a.m.. He will be back next Friday
Ader’s lawyer, Samir Adam, says it’s too early to comment on the nature of the charges. He wouldn’t say whether his client is married or has children, or whether he has a job.
The information filed in court alleges Ader, who turns 39 next month, detained Lindhout to “induce a member or members of her family to pay or cause to pay a ransom.”
Lindhout and Brennan were released in November, 2009, after their families paid ransom.
On Friday — Lindhout’s 34th birthday according to the Wikipedia entry on her — Malizia said the RCMP has been working on a criminal investigation since she was kidnapped, and has carried the investigation to Somalia.
“This investigation posed a number of significant challenges as it was carried out in an extremely high-risk environment in a country plagued with political instability,” he said.
“It required the deployment of a number of investigative techniques over a long period of time,” Malizia said. “In addition, the accused was in Somalia, which made the collection of evidence more challenging.”
Asked whether the Somali government knew the RCMP was at work in their country, he said: “I won’t comment around any the specifics of who knew what.”
“The details of the investigation will only be disclosed during judicial proceedings,” he said. He did say the RCMP used undercover operations as well as surveillance and wiretaps.
The RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team led the investigation.
He praised the “relentless efforts” of investigators, and also praised Lindhout personally.
In an investigation, he said, “victims and witnesses must re-live events that they should not have had to endure in the first place.
“I have personally been in touch with Miss Lindhout to provide her with these latest developments,” he said, “and I continue to admire her resilient spirit after having gone through such an ordeal.”
Malizia several times refused to go into detail about any of the seven-year investigation, saying that “our ability to get successful outcomes like this depends upon a certain level of discretion.”
– With files from Meghan Hurley