Sobbing Amanda Lindhout tells of abduction as kidnapping trial begins

Ali Omar Ader, a 40-year-old Somalian national, has pleaded not guilty to hostage-taking

An image of Ali Omar Ader is projected on a screen at RCMP headquarters during a press conference about his arrest for the kidnapping of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, in Ottawa on June 12, 2015. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

An emotional Amanda Lindhout recounted the horrors of being kidnapped at gunpoint in Somalia as the trial of one of her alleged hostage-takers got underway.

Lindhout sobbed Thursday upon approaching the witness box to describe her abduction by a gang of armed men in masks nine years ago, the beginning of what she called 460 days of hell.

Lindhout, a freelance journalist from Red Deer, Alta., and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were seized near Mogadishu in August 2008 while working on a story. Both were released in November 2009 in exchange for a ransom payment.

Ali Omar Ader, a 40-year-old Somalian national, has pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his alleged role as a negotiator.

He was arrested by the RCMP in Ottawa in June 2015. It emerged during pre-trial motions last spring that the Mounties had lured Ader to Canada through an elaborate scheme to sign a purported book-publishing deal.

The Crown says Ader admitted to undercover investigators on two occasions that he was the negotiator in the kidnapping and that he was paid $10,000.

Ader sat in the prisoner’s box just metres away from Lindhout as she struggled to gain her composure with the help of a support person who sat beside her during the proceedings.

The Crown alleges Ader was known to the hostages as “Adam” and took part in several telephone calls with Lindhout’s mother to demand payment for her daughter’s release.

Lindhout, 36, told of being introduced to Adam, who was also called “the commander.”

He said Allah had put it into his heart to ask for a ransom for the two journalists, Lindhout told the court.

Her mother was earning minimum wage working at a bakery, and her father was on long-term disability, prompting Lindhout to tell her captors they might as well kill her now.

Lindhout said Adam asked her: “Are you ready to die?”

Lindhout testified she was repeatedly sexually assaulted and beaten while captive. She was moved frequently, spending time in 13 different places, often in filthy conditions. At one point, rats were “crawling all over my body,” she told the court.

In 2009, Lindhout established The Global Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering leadership in Somalia through educational and community-based programs.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis girls heading to Provincials

Ahousaht school’s boys team earns Most Sportsmanlike recognition at tournament.

Tofino and Ucluelet revise single-use plastics bans after Victoria loses appeal

West Coast updating plastic bans to protect themselves from the Canadian Plastic Bag Association

Ucluelet resident sounds alarm over ‘environmental disaster’

Central Westcoast Forest Society estimates bridge project at Hyphocus Island could cost $1M.

Senior A Basketball: Maaqtusiis senior teams take on the Island Championships

Senior girls play at Duncan Christian and senior boys at Nanaimo Christian this weekend.

VIDEO: Feds warned agricultural sector near ‘tipping point’ due to blockades

Canadian Federation of Agriculture points to lack of propane and feed due to Coastal GasLink dispute

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

B.C. Liberals call for assistance on soaring strata insurance rates

NDP’s Carole James says problem is across the country

‘Intemperate, insulting’: B.C. teacher reprimanded for online comments about religion

John William Yetman made the comments in response to a Facebook invitation to Open Mosque Day B.C.

Most Read