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

COVID-19 outbreak at Oliver farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Penticton Community Centre prepares for reopening

The community centre will open Aug. 13 with many precautions in place

Penticton Vees seeking billet families for the upcoming season

Many life-long bonds have been formed between players and billet families, says assistant coach

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

Documentary on Kelowna brothers’ Central American surf resort business releases

Lucas and Travis Boychuk moved to Nicaragua in 2008, starting their surf resort business

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also announced another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Most Read