TORONTO: The U.S. government paid Pakistan authorities a $500,000 bounty to capture Abdullah Khadr, a Toronto man facing terrorism-related charges, according to Federal Court documents made public Monday. Justice Richard Mosley ordered the release of information on Khadr, who is fighting his extradition to the U.S., including an October 2004 briefing note to the RCMP commissioner. “The fact that a foreign state paid a bounty for the apprehension of a Canadian citizen abroad and that Canadian officials were aware of it at an early stage is also a matter in which the public would have legitimate interest,” Mosley wrote.
The briefing note indicates that Khadr, the eldest son of the notorious Khadr family, is a “national security threat.” “He is a primary target of project OCANADA due to his role with (al-Qaida) training camps and supporting insurgent activity in Pakistan/Afghanistan in past months . . . He is deemed to be a great intelligence asset due to his close relationship with Osama bin Laden and other AQ members.”
Khadr is accused of selling weapons and explosives to al-Qaida for attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan. He was arrested at the request of the U.S. two weeks after he turned up in Toronto in 2005 after being freed from “investigative detention” in Pakistan, where he faced no charges. The Canadian government is seeking to extradite him to the United States. His alleged crimes carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
Khadr has said that during his imprisonment in Pakistan, he was hooded, beaten and threatened with rape, and that American and Canadian authorities who interrogated him were aware of the torture. “It confirms that the United States has been responsible for the abuse and mistreatment of Mr. Khadr while he was in Pakistan,” his lawyer, Nathan Whitling, said Monday. “At the time that this bounty was offered, the U.S’s own State Department had a human rights report published that recognized and confirmed that Pakistan routinely tortured and arbitrarily imprisoned prisoners. They knew what was going to happen to him after he was arrested.”
The Federal Court ruled that Khadr is entitled to see at least some of the case against him in order to challenge his removal. Mosley ordered that lawyers for Khadr can see a summary of some of the information on him compiled by Foreign Affairs, the RCMP, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. “The summary is released only to lawyers for the parties and its use is restricted to the extradition proceedings,” wrote Mosley.
The ruling followed a media organization’s attempt to publish information in the briefing note, which was filed in open court. The inclusion of the briefing note that referred to the bounty was apparently accidental. The federal government opposed the release of any information on the grounds it would hinder Canada’s national security and international relations.
Abdullah’s father, Egyptian-born Canadian Ahmed Said Khadr, who emigrated to Canada in 1977, was an alleged al-Qaida financier who was killed in 2003. Abdullah’s younger brother, Omar, is being held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is accused of killing an American soldier in Afghanistan.-SANA