A Somali man convicted of taking Amanda Lindhout hostage has lost a court bid for confidential information he says could help with a possible effort to overturn the guilty verdict.
A new Federal Court of Appeal ruling dismisses Ali Omar Ader’s attempt to see sensitive files gathered during a criminal investigation of the kidnapping.
Mr. Ader faces a potentially lengthy prison sentence after being convicted late last year of hostage-taking.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith called Mr. Ader a “willing participant” in the 2008 kidnapping of Ms. Lindhout, who was working as a freelance journalist near Mogadishu at the time.
The judge found little to believe in Mr. Ader’s testimony, saying it did not support his claim that he was forced into serving as a negotiator and translator on behalf of a gang who threatened to harm him and his family.
Mr. Ader is slated to be sentenced later this month.
Behind the scenes, proceedings played out in Federal Court over prosecution-service concerns about classified information that, if disclosed during the trial, could harm international relations, security or defence.
A Federal Court ruling said last fall that a number of documents must remain confidential because the competing interests weighed in favour of protecting the information – prompting Mr. Ader’s application to the Court of Appeal.
Mr. Ader was unsuccessful in trying to have his criminal trial adjourned last October while the disclosure issue went through the courts.
In its decision, a three-member appeal panel concluded the Federal Court judge “made no error” in prohibiting release of the records in question. A public version of the Court of Appeal ruling blacks out some passages to shield details of the disputed materials.
A lawyer for Mr. Ader in the matter did not immediately return a phone call and it was unclear whether he would take his case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Ms. Lindhout, raised in Red Deer, Alta., and photographer Nigel Brennan of Australia were snatched by armed men while pursuing a story – the beginning of 15 months as hostages in abysmal conditions. Both were freed in November, 2009, upon payment of a ransom.
Years after their release, the RCMP lured Mr. Ader to Canada on the pretext of signing a lucrative book-publishing deal, leading to his arrest in Ottawa in June, 2015. He acknowledged to undercover officers that he had received $10,000 for his role in the kidnapping.
The Canadian Press
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